I rarely order mussels in French restaurants anymore. All too often they are overcooked (or worse, undercooked). And even when the mussels are perfectly executed, lately I find chefs lacking inspiration, falling back too often on a variation of “moules marinières.”
Fortunately, there are many great chefs across France just waiting to surprise me. Chef Pierre Reboul is just such a chef. His eponymous restaurant in the heart of historic Aix-en-Provence is a breath of fresh air. His modern take on Provencal classics is renown, and I found his mussel starter to be no exception.
The mussels (from Mont St. Michel in Normandy) were ever so tender and flavorful on their own. Better, they were served in an iodized cream foam, which provided just the right amount of contrast in flavor. The mussels both floated in my mouth, suspended in the cream, and literally popped with intensity from the salt. Better still, the accompanying potatoes and caviar were a touch of perfection. I have never had a better mussel dish anywhere.