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Le Mannequin Pis, Mussels, Frites, and Belgian Beer in Olney - The Gomes Brothers Take Over From Chef Bernard Dehaene


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I searched but I did not see a thread about this place specifically (although there were a few mentions of it in other threads).

Mrs. TJ and I headed there twice in the last couple of weeks while our kitchen and two bathrooms were being remodeled and we really enjoyed the place. The mussels are fantastic and there are quite a few different variations to the preparation. The frites are some of the best I have had, especially paired with the mayo/aioli/whatever. The 'Frisee Salad with Bacon' is so much more like 'Bacon Salad with Frisee' and it is unbelievably good. It was the main reason we went back a 2nd time within a week. The other dishes are very nice, some nice buffalo, duck and other entrees are all very tasty. We even had room for chocolate ravioli with raspberry sauce the 2nd dinner. The Belgian beer selections are quite good, I really liked the Watou Tripel particularly. Their wine list is good if you know European wines, French in particular.

Definitely recommended. I suggest you call to make reservations, especially if you plan on a weekend dinner. Both times we went without reservations, but were seated reasonably quickly at the communal 'chef's table'. Bernard is a great character and we had good service each time we went.

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Thanks for the review. Belgian beer is my fave and their selection is very good, plus their frites are some of the best I've had anywhere. We've had two very good meals there in the past, and it's on our list for sometime in the near future. I wish to hell it was in my neighborhood.

One major flaw: it is serious tiny and therefore feels very crowded.

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Thanks for the review.  Belgian beer is my fave and their selection is very good, plus their frites are some of the best I've had anywhere.  We've had two very good meals there in the past, and it's on our list for sometime in the near future.  I wish to hell it was in my neighborhood.

One major flaw: it is serious tiny and therefore feels very crowded.

I've had some mediocre servce there on occasion. And I've heard Bernard screaming at the staff more than once. But the food is fabulous, and it's better, cheaper, and closer than a lot of high-end places downtown.

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i have heard from a reliable source that bernard has sold manequin pis with the hopes that he will find a new space that he can own. he is driving down to galveston, i believe, with the old lavandou owner. there, the lavandou guy will pick up his boat and go sail away. but i believe bernard is staying around.

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i have heard from a reliable source that bernard has sold manequin pis with the hopes that he will find a new space that he can own. he is driving down to galveston, i believe, with the old lavandou owner. there, the lavandou guy will pick up his boat and go sail away. but i believe bernard is staying around.

He will be sorely missed in Olney, I hope he finds a place in the area since I really love his cooking. He was packed in the place he had, but it was very small and the kitchen was tiny. Of course, I think he would be pleased to not have to deal with Montgomery County's weird wine laws.

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This is my first review here, so no promises about quality!

This past Saturday, we were looking for a nice dinner that didn't involve a full trip down to DC. My dining companions had been to Mannequin Pis before, but I hadn't, so we decided to go. Most of the reviews and posts I read indicated that the restaurant had very good food, but was extremely lacking in the service department, and was certainly not child-friendly. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but the food seemed worth a try at least.

We made reservations that afternoon for 4, they could only seat us at 6:00 or 9:30. Since one of the 4 was a 3 year old, the 9:30 time was out, so we took the table at 6. Upon first walking into the restaurant, the host and surrounding staff seemed distinctly unimpressed that there was a small child in tow. In fact, we were left standing in the rather cramped front area as the staff went back to discuss which table to put us at now - having a child present meant they'd no longer seat us at the head table that was originally ours.

However, that would be my last complaint for the night about the service. Our waiter, David, was excellent. He made sure to do a little bit extra for the youngest member of the party (bringing him a small plastic toy with his drink, taking the time to listen and communicate with him) and showed none of the attitude displayed at the front of the restaurant. For the adults, he was exceedingly knowledgeable about the menu and specials, describing them all and competently making suggestions when asked. He was even better when it came to the beers on offer. David was able to describe all our selections, making sure they met our preferences. When asked for a general recommendation without any specific requests, he said he'd bring out a few bottles he'd suggest. A few turned out to be half a dozen or more bottles of different styles, and he took the time to fully describe each of them. Towards the end of the meal, he even brought out a glass of a beer he was trying for the first time as well, on the house. We stayed for over 2 hours and had absolutely nothing but praise for the service we received.

The food itself was fantastic. Unfortunately, I don't have a menu in front of me, so this is recreated from memory and I'm sure I'll miss some ingredients.

The most difficult part was narrowing down our choices, between the standard menu and the nightly specials, it wasn't an easy task. We ended up being unable to decide on fewer than 4 appetizers, two from the menu and two on special.

1 - Frisee salad. This was every bit as good as other reviewers had noted, with an abundance of extremely flavourful bacon, fresh frisee, and an excellent dressing that pulled everything together very well.

2 - Escargot. Cooked in herbs and cheese, the texture was excellent, with none of the overdone chewiness that you find with some escargot. Nothing too surprising in this dish, but one that came out very well.

3 - Asparagus with smoked salmon. This was on special, it was smoked salmon wrapped around white and green asparagus spears with creme fraiche, topped with salmon roe. The salmon was lightly smoked but had a very good flavour, and the asparagus was fresh.

4 - Avocado cocktail. Also on special, this appetizer combined lobster and smoked trout with avocado in a martini glass. The 3 year old was amused with food being served in a glass, as well as the top portion of the lobster shell used for decoration. All the flavours in this dish were very good, however, they didn't necessarily come together to create something more than the individual parts.

While the entrees looked very good, the mussels were fairly irresistable. After 4 appetizers, we might have reconsidered the idea of each getting a kilo of mussels, but with all the different types, we decided we wanted variety. Each order came out in a large pot, and they don't exaggerate about it being a kilo of mussels. Even sharing, I left a number of mine uneaten.

1 - Jamaican Isle. These mussels were cooked with a coconut cream curry sauce, giving them a fairly unusual creamy, curry infused taste.

2 - Bruxelles. These came with goat cheese, bacon and beer. They did a very good job getting the goat cheese to flavour the mussels and stay on them, and the bacon and beer flavours were at just the right intensity.

3 - Snob. These mussels had been cooked in lobster bisque, and very much picked up the flavour. As you worked your way through the shells, you ended up with a couple inches of concentrated lobster bisque with mussels left swimming in it. Luckily, they brought out a spoon to enjoy this experience - I enjoyed these the most out of the three.

Of course, the frietes must be mentioned. They were perfectly cooked, salty, and addictive. Even after I was full, I couldn't stop eating them. The garlic ones are excellent. Served the Belgian way with a side of spiced mayonnaise, even one of my dining companions who is repulsed by all things even resembling mayonnaise was dipping his and mentioning he was enjoying it...after swearing us to secrecy (oops.)

After all that food, I was definitely satiated, but after hearing the dessert menu...well, there wasn't much resistance. The little one had the profiterole, with light chocolate puff cookies, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. The adults split the bread pudding (normally, I don't like bread pudding, but this had a very good taste) and what they called their chocolate terrine. This dessert had two slabs (for lack of a better term) of a dark chocolate with almonds (essentially with the texture of fudge) and plated them with a raspberry sauce. A simple dessert, but absolutely amazing, I was tempted to lick the plate afterwards in order to make sure I got all the raspberry sauce. The tartness of the raspberry cut through the sweetness of the chocolate nicely, so although it was a very rich dessert, it didn't feel nearly as heavy as you might expect.

I've been using the receipt to remember the dishes, since it was itemized, and I notice now that there's a discount listed as "chef's special peeps." I'm not sure what that was for, but it does cement in my mind the impression I had as I walked away - while the place is small and a bit cramped, and the front staff could use a little bit of work on their attitude, the reputation for good food is well deserved, but the reputation for bad service isn't. The meal was nothing but excellent in every way, right down to the little unexpected touches that take it from "good" to "memorable."

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I've been to Mannequin Pis several times and my experiences (fortunately) always mirrored yours. Yes, the place is small and quirky (such as when they have live Elvis music) but that's what makes it fun.

Glad to hear it is still humming along while Bernard is away. Thanks for the news and welcome!

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Jake, Karen and I decided on the spur of the moment to go to Mannequin Pis for their Monday night special. A limited menu, 4 appetizers, 7 entrees (5 of them mussels by the kilo) and dessert chosen by the chef. Unfortuntely Bernard is in Belgum at the moment so we didn't get to schmooze and taste the extras. On Mondays they serve a three course meal for $20.05 if you pay in cash, $25.0f for a credit card. Bread is an extra $1.50. Jake started with the chicken risotto cilantro soup (very good) and then had the Mussels Ginger and soy - 1 kilo of mussels in a sauce of ginger, soy sauce, garlic, herbs, onions and whithe wine. Karen started with the melon and arugula salad with honeydew vinaigrette and had the Bouilbase of Scallops, Calamari, and Mussels as her entree. I started with the wild boar and cranberry sausage on apple, bier braised red cabbage then ordered the Mussels Dijonaise, made with a sauce of mustard, onions, celery, garlic and white wine. The mussels were served with piping hot, crisp, wonderful frites. For dessert the chef was offering crepes with maple glaze, nuts, and whipped cream. I had a couple fo glasses of a 2004 Grange des Rouquette GSM with dinner and Karen had a bottle of the Premium Framboise bier. Cappacino and tea to end the meal.

All in all, an excellent meal. Service was efficient (something to wonder at here) and the entire meal, including drinks, tax and a nice tip was $120 for the three of us.

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They have saved my bacon! With just two weeks' notice, they've made a reservation for us at 7 pm on a Friday night for 10. Phew! Hooray for LMP!

Please report back. I haven't been since Chef Dehaene left. That means the food is in question, though his replacement might not be screaming at the floor staff every hour on the hour.

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Please report back. I haven't been since Chef Dehaene left. That means the food is in question, though his replacement might not be screaming at the floor staff every hour on the hour.

I've been there since Bernard left. The food is still very good. His asst. chefs stayed on and the mussels are great.

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My food was great on Friday night, but the service was pis-poor.

Super mussels, venison sausage (with a hint of blueberry!) over lentils, and osso bucco with braised veg.

Not so super that we waited for more than 20 minutes after being seated before anyone came to take our order, or that we had to ask 3 different servers 5 different times for water, or that some servers spent much of their time milling about with no clear purpose except avoiding eye contact with patrons.

They told us they were one down in the front of the house that night, for the restaurant's sake I hope it was the manager who called in sick.

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Truth be told, though, I wasn't really taken by the frites... :D

Keep thy heretical thoughts to thyself!

Did you get the homemade mayo to dip them in?

At least once I've gotten mussels/frites as an appetizer, and then another order for dinner. :P

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What is the price-point for this place? We're thinking of going this weekend with some friends who don't want to break the bank. Are we talking $20+ for entrees?

Thanks.

My recollection is that many entrees (including mussels) are at or under $20, though not by a lot.

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Keep thy heretical thoughts to thyself!

Did you get the homemade mayo to dip them in?

At least once I've gotten mussels/frites as an appetizer, and then another order for dinner. :lol:

Well, I never thought of having frites, frites and then frites. Great idea!!

I'll have to go back and check it all out. It's been too long.

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i saw a posting mentioning the chef yells loud enough to be heard in the dining room. while i didn't experience it, it seems likely- the menu specifically says IN WRITING: this is not a children's restaurant. and something about not asking for substitutions. and also it's not a vegetarian friendly restaurant unless you call ahead.

i have to kind of respect a chef who says "this is what i do...if you don't like this, that's fine, but please don't ask me to change how i cook"

ballsy but i respect it. I love the swipe he takes at the Montg. County ABC control board.

the belgian beers are great if a little pricey. the waiter we had knew his stuff and was able to recommend some good ones- I've had a number of lambics and duvel and chimay before so wanted to try something new- Delirium Tremors- YUMMMMM.

the mussels are great- a half dozen or more styles of preparation. the frites were excellent. hot and salty just like they should be. the frisee salad as others have mentioned is CHOCK FULL O' BACON. how can you not like that?

it's not a cheap meal nor is it overpriced IMO. and chances are you'll drive by the rundown shopping center it's in 2 or 3 times on your first visit, but inside the place is nice, dark and relatively quiet the night we were there- the tables are close together so I imagine on a full house it could get noisy.

but the chef, blunt though he may be, serves up some delicious food.

How I wish he'd open up closer to the rockville/gaithersburg/bethesda side of Montg. County.

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Actually, all that stuff on the menu about the County board, cell phones, children, etc. was from the previous chef/owner. He was the one who was known for his temper and could be heard yelling. On the other hand he was a great guy and would bend over backwards for you if he wanted to. Once I saw him prepare a special plate because someone had medical reasons for not being able to eat something, another time I saw him ask a patron to go dine somewhere else because he didn't like her attitude with the hostess (who happened to be his fiancee.) I'm glad to hear that the new owners have kept things the same, the chefs are the assistant chefs from before and are quite good. BTW, if you haven't tried it, the mussel/saffron soup is to die for.

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My boyfriend and I went to Mannequin Pis last night for dinner. This is the second time we've been since Bernard left. We had been countless time prior to his departure. I was really pleased that the quality of the food has not suffered. I overheard a waitress telling her customer that Bernard has opened a new place in Philadelphia.

We started our meal with the escargot. Fantastic. My boyfriend then had the Jamacian Isle mussels and I had the Kangaroo with a cherry sauce. Nicely done.

We are beer people so the beverage menu at MP is always a treat. :o My boyfriend had the La Chouffe, Nostradamus and an OerBier. I had the Peche Lambic. Heaven!

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My boyfriend and I went to Mannequin Pis last night for dinner. This is the second time we've been since Bernard left. We had been countless time prior to his departure. I was really pleased that the quality of the food has not suffered. I overheard a waitress telling her customer that Bernard has opened a new place in Philadelphia.

We started our meal with the escargot. Fantastic. My boyfriend then had the Jamacian Isle mussels and I had the Kangaroo with a cherry sauce. Nicely done.

We are beer people so the beverage menu at MP is always a treat. :o My boyfriend had the La Chouffe, Nostradamus and an OerBier. I had the Peche Lambic. Heaven!

According to the Phila Inquirer it is called Zot, a Belgian restaurant/wine bar/beer bar, at 122 Lombard St. in Society Hill.

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Had dinner there about 2 weeks back. My wife's birthday. She loves mussels. Well we loved the escargot, and my lamb steak was excellent. But the mussles were bad. Bad, bad. Should never have been served. The guy at the table next to us, who claimed to be a retired chef, told the poor Honduron (possibly) runner that the chef should examine his mussels. I am sure he did not. I suppose that a Belgian restaurant must serve mussels on a busy Saturday night, lest there be a riot, but my wife and others(I'll wager) sure did pay the price the next day.

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Heading up to Olney Theatre on Sat night. I am taking my wife to the ballet up there for her birthday and am looking for the top 2 or 3 options for dining close to their or between Wheaton and Olney (if there is something better on the way). Thanks in advance.

Le Mannequin Pis on Georgia Ave just south of Rte 108 is by far the best dining option in the area. Call now for a table.

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Le Mannequin Pis on Georgia Ave just south of Rte 108 is by far the best dining option in the area. Call now for a table.

My family is in Olney so I have gone to Mannequin Pis on 2 occasions- both for their monday price fix menu. Is the quality considerably lower then than the other nights/menu items? I have found the mussels to be perfectly fine but it never knocked my socks off- so I haven't been back for the full menu. Should we try another night? We've been hesitant to do so.

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My family is in Olney so I have gone to Mannequin Pis on 2 occasions- both for their monday price fix menu. Is the quality considerably lower then than the other nights/menu items? I have found the mussels to be perfectly fine but it never knocked my socks off- so I haven't been back for the full menu. Should we try another night? We've been hesitant to do so.

MP is probably still the best option in Olney, but I ate there recently and, at least that dish on that night, didn't seem up to the level of days gone by. If you go and order mussels, I think your best bet is to stick with a traditional preparation, not any of the more unusual versions they have.

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Any updates on the food? Was thinking about mussels this weekend and debating between here or someplace in DC - Belga, Granville Moore, Brasserie Back? I live in downtown SS so somewhat in the middle. Thx!

Was there a couple of months ago. Was a big disappointment, unfortunately. Belga, Granville and Beck are all much better. To boot, Mannequin Pis was out of nearly every beer (and the list isn't even that long. It was comical-- "ok, could you just tell us what beers you do have?").
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Was thinking about mussels this weekend and debating between here or someplace in DC - Belga, Granville Moore, Brasserie Back? I live in downtown SS so somewhat in the middle. Thx!

Consider Et Voila, a tiny place on MacArthur Boulevard in the Palisades neighborhood. Their moules/frites are excellent.
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Was there a couple of months ago. Was a big disappointment, unfortunately. Belga, Granville and Beck are all much better. To boot, Mannequin Pis was out of nearly every beer (and the list isn't even that long. It was comical-- "ok, could you just tell us what beers you do have?").

This saddens me. I have not been in quite a while, but I used to go there when I was jonesing for some mussels and frites. I could eat that right now.

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Finally had a chance to eat here. The ambiance and food were fantastic. I had muscles with celery white wine and Parmesan. Best in town by far. I also had their sausages and they were great. I will be making every effort to try to make it back and see how consistent they are.

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Last Night Jake and I decided to go to Mannequin Pis for mussels and Belgian beer.  It has been a while since we had been there and we were curious as to whether things had changed.  Jake and I used to be regulars when this place opened and Bernard Dehaene owned it as was the chef (starting when Jake was about 8 years old).  The two chefs there now trained under Bernard and have continued his menu and style.

The best (and probably only) reason to go to Mannequin Pis is for the mussels.  I didn't feel like them last night and ordered the steak frites.  It wasn't bad, an 8-ounce Top Sirloin with Bearnaise sauce, cooked exactly as I asked.  But when I have steak frites, I am expecting a hanger steak, no sirloin.  The frites were, as usual, wonderful.

Jake's mussels on the other hand were fantastic.  He ordered the Bebert, a kilo of mussels cooked in celery, onion, herbs, Smoked Salmon, leeks, Delirium Tremens (a Belgian golden ale) and horseradish.  It had huge chunks of smoked salmon in it that flavored the broth.  Absolutely delicious.

Monday thru Thursday they have a three course meal for $34.  An appetizer (the sausages count as an appetizer) entree, and dessert.  I started with the smoked salmon plate.  A large portion of house cured salmon, a little salty, but still good, served with huge capers, a Parmesan croustade, horseradish creme fraiche.  I ended with one of my favorite things, bread pudding.  Jake opted for the pheasant sausage over wilted spinach, and ended with an excellent chocolate mousse.  We washed it down with a large bottle of Duval.

And the big news, now they have a corkage permit, so you can bring your own wine if you want.  I think the corkage fee is fairly high, $25, but nice to know.

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