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Summer Splash | Restaurants : IN THE MOOD



Whether black-shelled or neon green, mussels have a succulent, sweet-salty taste of the sea.

* Seashell: This plush Continental restaurant serves a pound and half of Prince Edward Island black mussels steamed with shallots, white wine, a touch of cream and a light sprinkling of herbs. (Mussels poulette; appetizer $8.95, main course $19.50.) Seashell, 19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 884-6500.

* Bouchon: Moules marinieres are a favorite at this bistro. Try them Belgian-style, with a side of French fries for dipping into the pungent broth of white wine, shallots, chives, chervil, thyme, parsley and a smidgen of butter. (Moules marinieres, $6.) Bouchon, 7661 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 852-9400.

* Cafe Pierre: You'll find this bit of France not far from the surf of Manhattan Beach. It offers a generous serving of ocean-farmed Santa Barbara mussels in an aromatic broth of Pernod, white wine, Italian parsley, fennel and tomatoes. (Mussels paysanne, $15.95.) Cafe Pierre, 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5252.

* Cafe Blanc: At lunch, this Franco-Asian spot serves steamed mussels in a silky Chinese black bean sauce with shallots, green onions, rice wine and a bit of tomato. T (Steamed black mussels with Chinese black bean sauce, $7.) Cafe Blanc, 9777 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 888-0108.

* Chianti Cucina: Here you can get a bowl of meaty New Zealand mussels in a light tomato sauce scented with basil, garlic and olive oil. Two crispy crostini drizzled with olive oil are served on the side. (Guazzeto di cozze, $12.) Chianti Cucina, 7383 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 653-8333.

* Woodside: Chef Dean Max uses garlic, lemon grass, ginger, fish broth, white wine and cilantro, along with the juices of the mussels, to create a delicate, tangy, flavorful broth. (Steamed mussels with ginger lemon grass broth, $9.) Woodside, 11604 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 571-3800.

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