Four Stars
Vermouth-Steamed Mussels With Tomatoes And Pancetta
@ Red Fish Grill

Like all great mussel dishes, this is quickly and simply cooked. The name gives nearly the entire recipe. The vermouth is a subtlety, but everything else is right up front. The tomatoes aren’t in there long, so they still have a nice sharpness. Richness comes from the pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon.) Fresh herbs and garlic give aroma; crushed red pepper creates a pleasant glow. They send you a generous dozen mussels as an appetizer, and a satisfying entree can be had by doubling that order. The dish was created at Ralph Brennan’s Italian trattoria Bacco, which at the moment is in mothballs. The dish was so good that Ralph is serving it isporadically in his other restaurants, notably the Red Fish.

French Quarter: 310 Chartres. 504-522-2426

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