by Steven Doyle photos by Joey Stewart
Often imitated, the originator of the Green Mussels can be found at his own restaurant, 20 Feet Seafood Joint. Marc Cassel created this dish decades ago when he was executive chef at the Green Room in Deep Ellum. Those mussels may still be found on the menu several incarnations of the restaurant later. While walking the steps to the rooftop bar you will even spot chef Cassel’s original chef coat. He left that sort of impression on the digs.
The flavorful dish is spiked with garlic cloves, julienne jalapeno, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, butter, chile flakes, fresh spinach leaves and champagne. And of course Prince Edward Island mussels which are large and meaty. No wonder it is an iconic Dallas dish packed with flavor and a little punch that gets your appetite kick-started.
At one point in history there were no less than a half dozen Dallas restaurants serving Casel’s mussels, now only a few which include the Green Room in Deep Ellum, Toulouse on Knox and Cassel’s own restaurant, 20 Feet in East Dallas.
The mussels are a perfect starter at 20 Feet, but we also enjoy fried Ipswich whole belly clams served year round. Cassel also has the best price on Bluepoint oysters.
For a main course you have plenty of seafood and non-seafood options such as the lobster roll filled with the meaty crustacean served on a roll baked fresh in-house daily. Don’t miss on the fish and chips or, oddly enough, Cassel’s own ramen packed with a perfect broth and slurpy good noodles.
Cassel has an amaaing history with local Dallas cuisine having worked at landmark restaurants Baby Routh, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Star Canyon, and Azalea, and credits Stephan Pyles, Kevin Rathbun, and Kent Rathbun with sharpening his time management skills and propelling him on a creative culinary path. Cassel served as the executive chef for over eight years at the Deep Ellum neighborhood eatery, The Green Room, as well as Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly to name a few of the chef’s brighter assignment’s, to name a few, before opening his own restaurant located on Peavy Road. He and his wife-chef-business partner Susan Fries both were graduates of Dallas’ El Centro culinary program.
This is a fantastic time of year to visit 20 Feet Seafood Joint. Be sure to say howdy to the goateed Cassel and the lovely and talented Susan Fries in the open kitchen. It is BYOB and there is always a sweet surprise at the end of each meal in their chocolate cream or key lime pie.
Interesting fact: 20 Feet Seafood Joint was named for the length of dogs the owners have.