With the news that 20 Feet has shuttered in East Dallas (for now) we thought it might be helpful to make a batch of Marc Cassel’s Green Room Mussels at home in memoriam of the extremely popular restaurant. These are the same mussels he offered first at the marvelous restaurant in Deep Ellum, the Green Room. In Dallas you can find fresh mussels at TJ’s Seafood Market or Central Market. It’s a kick making these mussels, and will enhance your cheffy skills to boot. Let us know how they come out, these are sure to be a class favorite.
Chef Marc Cassel created this dish decades ago when he was executive chef at the Green Room in Deep Ellum. Those mussels could still be found on the menu several incarnations of the restaurant later, including his own restaurant 20 Feet.
Even today while walking the steps to the rooftop bar at the Green Room you will spot chef Cassel’s original chef coat. He left that sort of impression on the digs.
As for these mussels he 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 Cassel’s mussels, now only a few which include the Green Room in Deep Ellum, Toulouse on Knox, and others.
The mussels are a perfect starter or a meal, but we also enjoy fried Ipswich whole belly clams he served year round. Cassel also had the best price on Bluepoint oysters which make a fine side dish to these mussels.
Cassel has an amazing 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.
2-3 lbs. live black mussels*, scrubbed and de-bearded
1-2″ ginger root, peeled and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and julienned
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into large pieces
½ stick butter, unsalted and cubed
2 cups Champagne (or any dry sparkling white wine)
1 ½ tbsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
1 cello bag flat-leaf spinach, washed, stemmed, and torn
Crushed red chili flakes, as desired
In a large, hot skillet, quickly sauté ginger, jalapeño, mushrooms, and garlic. When the pan returns to high heat, add butter, salt, and mussels. Toss the mixture to distribute ingredients evenly. Working quickly, add Champagne and immediately cover the pan to trap as much steam as possible. When the mussels just begin to open, add spinach to wilt. Once all the mussels are well opened, remove from heat, toss pan again, and pour everything into a large, heated bowl or serving platter. Sprinkle with chili flakes and serve immediately, preferably with lots of warm, crusty bread to dip into the hearty jus. Do not leave the mussels on the heat once they have opened, as they will quickly overcook, shrink, and become chewy.
We like PEI’s if given a seafood choice.