The plan for Father's Day last year was to go out for some all you can eat mussels. My dad loves mussels, and we thought that would be a perfect way to celebrate. For a whole bunch of reasons (including the fact that AYCE mussels are usually only on Sundays and Mondays, and we tried to go but they were out of mussels on certain holidays), we never actually got around to going out until this year's Father's Day. After all of that anticipation, we hoped that the AYCE mussels would live up to our expectations!
We chose to go to BXL Cafe near Times Square, since we were already in the area due to the Solstice in Times Square yoga event, and they have a great mussels special. A and I had always thought about going before for Belgian WorldEats but just never got around to it before now. The special is $24 per person, for all the mussels you can eat, a plate of fries, and a 33cl Stella Artois (for which you could substitute a glass of wine).
Of course, we each got the mussels special, and shortly after we ordered, the giant pots of mussels started to arrive at the table. The first pot is 2 pounds of mussels, and every pot after that is 1 pound.
The fries also arrived, and they came with a small cup of mayo, which we expected since they're a Belgian spot. The fries were nice and crispy, but the mayo was sadly just plain mayo. We were hoping that it would be as good as some of the housemade mayo we had in Europe (especially the one in Haarlem), but it wasn't.
A started out with the moules marinières, which had a white wine shallot broth. The giant pot of mussels came with a lemon wedge and lots of onions and celery. The broth there was pretty good, and the mussels were almost all cooked perfectly.
I got the moules provençale, which was mussels with tomato, garlic, and fresh basil. Just like the marinières, these mussels came loaded up with a ton of onions and celery under the tomato basil sauce. The mussels were just as good and perfectly done as the marinières. It seems the way that BXL layers up the mussels is broth on the bottom, then the mussels, then all the onions and celery, and then the sauce of choice, which layering was a bit more noticeable here in the provençale because the tomato sauce was more obvious in color. It didn't seem like all the layers were mixed together that well from the start, but by the time we got halfway through the mussels, everything combined together nicely.
The great thing about BXL is that they allowed us to mix up the sauces in our subsequent pots, unlike some places that make you stick with whatever you chose initially. Since they're all the same price in the AYCE, it makes sense that you can mix and match. We both got the moules thailandaise for our second pots, since the server said that was her favorite. The thailandaise was made with coconut milk, lemongrass, and curry, and the flavor of the curry sauce was so good. That was definitely our favorite of the 3 sauces.
We were all pretty happy with the mussels we got at BXL. Were they as good as the mussels A and I got in Brussels (which hopefully we'll tell you about soon)? No, but they were still really good. We would definitely go back again for more mussels.