Waterzooi Brings Belgian Mussel Obsession Stateside


Photo by Doug Young

Before opening his Garden City bistro in 1998, Waterzooi executive chef Ed Davis made a pilgrimage to Belgium to immerse himself in the best food and beer the country has to offer. While some people send post cards, Davis brought the traditions home. Waterzooi’s signature entrée – moules frites, or mussels and fries – is the national dish of Belgium, as iconic and oft consumed as the American burger and fries.

The website visitbelgium.com reports that mussels are in season in Belgium from September to February and most are sourced from the North Sea. The dish is so popular that, according to the website, the Brussels restaurant Chez Leon serves a staggering half ton of mussels a day.

There’s even a museum exhibit dedicated to the blue bivalves. “Simply Mussels” is on display at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and explores everything from noshing on mussels to “the mussel as muse.” Check out the institute’s web site for a moules pot full of recipes. Better yet, head over to Waterzooi for a taste of Ed Davis’s unique twist on a classic dish, served daily.