Petite Abeille, Jan. 14, 2006

Petite Abeille
401 E. 20th St. (1st Ave.)

Had a quick dinner here on Saturday evening at the "New Jersey Strip Mall" location on 20th St. and 1st Ave.

From the outside, this place looks as inviting as the Duane Reade (or was it CVS) next door.

But we were quickly given a table, menus and placed a drink order. Danna had a strawberry milkshake (it was one of those rainy days ya know) and I ordered a Nostradamus Brown Ale. The beer was sweeter than the shake (heavy on the alcohol %) but very good despite a poor pour from the waiter. This is bad practice unless you are a bartender. The shake was perfectly thick and not too strawberryish, if you know what I mean. Just right.

Danna got a cheddar bacon cheeseburger and I ordered the Moules Jamaicaines (2 lbs of steamed mussels in a Jamaican curry sauce with apples) which was nothing short of delicious. The mussels were plump and medium in size which was just right, perfectly steamed and the Jamaican curry was excellent. Truly a great dish and very similar to that of Park Bistro's variety. The ones at Park Bistro might be slightly more complex but it's a real toss up as to which ones are better. The broth was remarkably delcious and in abundance. Much more so than you are likely to get elsewhere. I could have eaten an entire baguette - dipping into that broth.

The burger was very good as well but the biggest disappointment was the frites. Wow. These could have been a LOT better. They may have been too crispy for their own good -- and without any potatoey center.

We left a good percentage of our fries on the plate.

The place itself is very family oriented and indeed the number of children came close to equalling the number of adults this evening. The service was fine for what it was (we got our check and the receipt in record time
, which was nice).

A burger, a beer, a shake and more mussels than one needs to eat came to about $40. We went to the back of the restaurant afterwards and bought a jar of Nutella (we had run out) and two "sweet" waffles of which I topped with some hot carmelized bananas and the Nutella (slightly warmed) the following morning for breakfast. Yum!

It's a little out of the way for us, but if I am craving mussels...I will probably head back here...and will order a larger basket of bread for dunking.

Cute website


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