Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually Pretty Awesome: Seared Salmon and Mussel Mashed Potatoes at Bisou

It's not how we're used to seeing mussels, and we like it.
It’s not how we’re used to seeing mussels, and we like it. Photo: Alanna Hale/Grub Street

Two-year-old Castro bistro Bisou has won over a bunch of ardent fans in the neighborhood, but chef Nick Ronan isn’t resting on his laurels. He took a culinary research trip through Europe this past summer, and worked alongside some 22 chefs along the way, finding inspiration from menus by Fabien Galibert of La Bergerie Aragon, a one-star Michelin restaurant in the south of France, and Alberto Criado of London’s Cambio De Tercio, to name a couple. One of a group of new dishes that has resulted from his trip is this uncomplicated but satisfying salmon dish, with a side of mussels atop a rich potato purée.

The salmon is from Loch Duart in Scotland, and it’s seared, topped with a piece of fresh, barely warm uni, and served with a rich bone-marrow-based sauce. It’s perfectly cooked and delicious, but we were most drawn to the warm, plump Salt Spring mussels, dressed with that sauce, and nestled in buttery mashed fingerling potatoes. It’s a great dish for fall, and a clever play on the classic potato-mussel combo that usually comes in the form of Belgian frites. We could have eaten a big bowl of just that.

We also recommend Ronan’s classic and beautifully executed beef cheek Bourgignon, with wildly tender, perfectly cooked pieces of beef and an ultra-rich and beefy jus; as well as his lamb sirloin with peaches, elderflower, and black Mission figs.

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
The Meatloaf at Jamber
Carrots at Commonwealth
Turducken at Honor Bar
Beggar’s Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino and the Cucumber and Scallops at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendes’s Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare

Actually Pretty Awesome: Seared Salmon and Mussel Mashed Potatoes at Bisou