Yes, the weekend ahead of us is filled with margaritas and drunken taco consumption. Nonetheless, we’re getting all French up in here. Mussels and fries, aka moules frites, are among the classier of happy hour combos. And since Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of when the Mexican army overthrew the French, maybe we’re on to something here…
Chef Jason Stoneburner's brain is likely filled with ideas for his upcoming restaurant, but over at Bastille he has decided May is dedicated to various preparations of mussels. All month, Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10 means steamy bowls for $10 at this always-croweded French eatery. The moules hail from local purveyors Taylor Shellfish, Penn Cove Shellfish, and Kamilche Sea Farm, and specific preparations vary daily. Pair those bivalves with frites for $3, draft beer for $4, or a French white from the Loire valley, Muscadet, for $6.
Can you handle clams with those mussels? Well, good, because you get both for $5 in butter, white wine, and herb broth at Thierry Rautureau's bistro. In fact, almost all the happy food items are 5 bucks and under. French fries with harissa aioli, a smoked salmon tartine with herbed goat cheese, and mini BLTs (but it’s pulled pork with bacon, tomato jam, and arugula) just to name a few. A couple cleverly named $5 cocktails i.e. the “mini mad hat’n,” and $3 house white, red, and draft beer. Belly up to the bar or kitchen counter from 4:30 to 6:30 everyday.
Happy hour comes with a view, and big green umbrellas to shade and/or defend us from the sun and/or rain. Prices go by the evens with $4, $6, $8, and $12 options. The Penn Cove mussels land in the $6 category with a classic mariniere butter and white wine broth. And Belgium frites are $4 served in a cornet (who doesn’t like a good cornet?). Rose sangria with pineapple and orange sounds refreshing or go for an Absinthe, both for $5. Hit that deck for post-work snacks Monday through Friday from 5 to 7.
To quote the happy hour menu, “More than 50 exquisite preparations priced between $4 and $8” and that's just counting food items. So it's no surprise to see moules frites on the list, in both classic a la mariniere or saffron and mustard forms. Also, two kinds of pommes frites: one with classic aioli or with veal pan sauce. And soups, salads, oysters fresh and fried, and even a “curiosities” section. Intrigued? Drink specials include 16 fancy cocktails at $7.50 and common industry shots like Fireball and Fernet for $7. Early show is 4 to 6, late night run from 10 to 1am every night.
Ditch the shellfish–this Fremont beer hall has killer fries. “Power Hour” lasts for three hours every day 3 to 6. Frites with your choice of six sauces for $3 or man up and have frites deluxe with a Belgian beer-cheese sauce, curried ketchup, and onion for $5. There’s even a non-pomme fry option made from falafel with bourbon dragon sauce. This might be a good time to mention that all 64 draft beers are a dollar off.