The H Street, NE corridor is humming every night with so many new hot dining spots, but last night before heading to the In Series Opera "Fidelio" at the Atlas Theater, we decided to try one of the first places to open when the neighborhood began changing almost a decade ago. GRANVILLE MOORE's (http://www.granvillemoores.com-1238H St, NE) is about as unassuming a place than can exist, with a small door and sign, narrow entry to a lower level of a townhouse (if u can call it that) with a long bar and tables), a steep staircase to another narrow upper floor with bar and wooden booths that would benefit from a cushion. The feel here is definitely less than casual, shall we say come as you are, neighborhood pub. The specialty here is what the sign says on the front, "FRITTES-ALES-MOULES," and I must say while I am not a beer person, the ale menu is impressive while the 6 wines by the glass/bottle are just adequate. The fries here have to win a city-wide prize for some of the best. Served in a basket with paper tray they are spiced up with sea salt and seasonings and come with two dipping sauces per each huge $6 order (extra sauces are a ridiculously low 25cents each!). They are crispy, crunchy and tasty and even without the sauce win my prize. We chose Kalamata Aioli which was rich in the salty Greek olive taste, but the Truffle Mayo wins a prize as well. The mussels also win prizes for the ingenuity in flavor blending such as "BLEU" having Hook's Blue Cheese, Pork Belly, Shallots, Spinach, White Wine and Lemon which immediately attracted me. The pork belly is crisp and meaty in little squares and the spinach leaves abound as well. The broth is light but rich with blue cheese flavor and ideal for mopping up with the thick slices of French bread. Thai Mussels have a huge kick with Curry, Coconut, Lemongrass, Ginger, Chilies, Basil, Cilantro and Peanuts.
If you desire starters, they tend to be rich, so we just had mussels while one of us tried two starters: Arancini are Fried Parmesan Risotto Balls with Mushroom, English Pea Pesto for dipping, Aged Ricotta and Lemon Zest and come on a small excellent salad bed to boot. Grilled Shrimp are head on with Pineapple Glaze, Cucumber-Pepper Broth, Mango Salsa and Summer Radish.
Chef Teddy Folkman is splitting his time these days between ventures and was sadly not in house, but the staff was super friendly, helpful and just plain nice, so his team is in good hands for sure, and the food was all top notch.
A bottle of I Basalti Soave was a dry minerally choice for the mussels and worked fine. Erin helped us choose, but steered us away from the Corn Chowder Mussels (she does not like corn, she admitted) which sounded very rich with Leeks, Onion, Garlic, Celery Cream, Clam Juice, Thyme & bacon--perhaps on a cool autumn evening....next time.