Confidently, the waiter issued a throwdown, “These will list high in your top five.” I raised an eyebrow at his aplomb – I had just made clear my deep appreciation for a good bowl of mussels. One more quick scan of the full Five Fifty-Five menu and I took the plunge.

My first visit to 555 was a mussel revelation

My first visit to 555 was a mussel revelation

Now, it’s not that I expect more from the shellfish dish than most folks. Don’t we all want an ideal consistency and a creative, aromatic broth? It’s just that – too often – restaurants fail to hit the mussel mark. And, the ingredients in this recipe seemed – I don’t know – odd. Pickled cherry peppers, carmelized garlic and chive butter? On mussels? Wouldn’t that be overpowering?

No. It was marvelous.

Served in more of an oily, savory paste than a broth, the mussels were perfectly cooked, perfectly proportioned and outrageously unique. The tang of the pepper and garlic gave the dish just the right amount of heat without overwhelming it.

WAAAYYY different than the classically wonderful Fore Street version (a winning concoction of butter, garlic, almonds and vermouth), the mussels at Five Fifty-Five are now – as our waiter predicted – sitting on my top five list.

In fact, everything about our first dining experience at Five Fifty-Five is tops with me at the moment.

Adam loved the restaurant’s signature Lobster Mac and Cheese (who wouldn’t – hand rolled torchio pasta, shucks certified Maine lobster, artisanal cheese sauce, shaved black summer truffles – duh!) and my Sticky Pig was tender, moist – and very, very large. I snarfed so much of the buttery mound of collard greens, however, that most of the massive chop ended up in my eggs the next morning.

For dessert we couldn’t pass up the intriguingly title “trio of interesting house-churned ice creams.” Ice cream? Interesting? Bring it on. Marshmallow mint (a strangely charismatic combination), rosemary, and cayenne peanut. Yum all the way around.

Our waiter, Ezra, was attentive, knowledgeable and opinionated (just the way I like ‘em), and the entire service experience was top notch. Another server was bringing our entrees when he spied me heading to the loo.  I turned down his offer to hold off on the plate delivery, but was impressed none-the-less. The bar tab effortlessly transferred over and the numberless coat-check went off without a snag.

My first experience at Five Fifty-Five gets a first-rate high five from me.

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