Neighborhood: Cleveland Park
Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD
Texas and I had scheduled a get together with Official Friend of DCWD
Juli and her boyfriend Ian. With last-minute plans threatening to derail
our plans, we instead relocated to the quick and convenient St.
Arnold’s in Cleveland Park.
Due mostly to its architecture, St. Arnold’s feels more like a
biergarten than a restaurant; it’s essentially a covered patio space on
the sidewalk adjacent to Dino. At that, the walls are almost entirely
glass paned like a greenhouse, letting in the summer sun on this visit.
Seating is in two rows: a long extended row of high-top bar tables that
acts almost like communal seating; and a short row of half-booth twos in
combination that lead into the long bar. The décor and set-up reflect
the central tenet that St. Arnold’s is a mussels bar, nothing more and
nothing less. It’s clean but no-nonsense, with a festive outdoor
While the menu does include a relatively extensive list of Belgian food,
all of us were there for the mussels. Ever the neighborhood veterans,
Juli and Ian opted for the Mussels St. Arnold’s: with a sauce made of
house beer, caramelized shallots, garlic, thyme, and duck fat. In an
effort not to have the whole table order the same thing, Texas and I
passed, but it was a regrettable decision; picking the restaurant’s
namesake dish is probably the best move you could make, and the
inclusion of duck fat and beer made for a unique (and more importantly
delicious) combination that I’ve yet to see among other Belgian mussels
For our part, I ordered the Italian style mussels (Italian
sausage, peppers, onions, tomatoes), while Texas got the Thai curry
mussels with basil. My thought process for ordering was “if I can’t get
the duck fat, let’s at least maximize the meat.” What I ended up with
was essentially like eating a Nats sausage simultaneously with my
mussels. So, it wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t bad either. It just
felt a little odd, and a lot gluttonous. Still, the flavors were on for
what they were, so there’s no faulting the kitchen. For her part,
Texas’s curry was much more conventional and a lot tastier, with a good
degree of heat and piquant flavor with each bit. Most importantly for
all, the bread basket was refilled often and the fries were solid.
Perfectly decent mussels.
Food Rating: ** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: Frat House
Cost: $ (out of 5) (less than $25 for two)
one of the four people that hasn't seen The Dark Knight Rises? The
Uptown Theater is still showing it in its large single screen.