Mussels Pigalle = Dish of the Day

February 22, 2010

Years ago, during the five years I served as food editor at Seattle Homes & Lifestyles magazine, I wrote an article entitled, “Seattle’s Top-10 Restaurant Dishes.” Among my top picks was the yummy Mussels Pigalle served at Place Pigalle in the Pike Place Market.

Here’s what I had to say back then:

“The idea for steamed mussels dressed with bacon-rich balsamic vinaigrette was inspired almost 25 years ago, long before balsamic vinegar became a household staple and mussels became a commonly ordered item in Seattle. I figured this unusual dish was discovered by Place Pigalle owner Bill Frank while wandering the backroads of France. WRONG! Back in 1982, Frank and then-chef Connie Miller Cheifetz were trying to incorporate the philosophy of the restaurant (which Frank describes as “unusual preparations of good raw products without being off the wall”) into a new appetizer. Frank also appreciates dishes that combine meat or animal components with seafood, which is where the rather offbeat (albeit brilliant) idea of pairing bacon and mussels was born. In today’s version, plump mussels are placed lip to lip like upright soldiers in a pristine porcelain ramekin, then topped with a thick balsamic vinaigrette laden with chunks of celery, shallots, and chewy lardons (bacon bits). Don’t be embarrassed to sop up the vinaigrette; luckily, Frank supplies tangy sourdough rolls, strategically suited for dipping.”

Mussels Pigalle

And here’s what I say now:

“I’m glad to report that when Lluvia and Seth Walker bought Place Pigalle from Bill Frank several years ago, they kept the Mussels Pigalle, along with other signature dishes such as Calamari Dijonnaise and the Chocolate Pot de Crème on their menu, while adding new favorites. Here’s a recent photo of the mussels served in all their glory.

And still, I’m happy to report, among Seattle’s Top-10 dishes.