Table Manners: Mussels

Introducing a new regular feature here at Restaurant Live; Table Manners.  I posted about Fine Dining Etiquette a few weeks ago after a visit to the Wrigley Mansion and the response was overwhelming.  Lots of positive feedback and enthusiasm.  It got me thinking about how many times in a week I encounter unique challenges in dining etiquette that might be worth sharing.  So, here we go, installment numero dos.  Mussels.

Cibo e Vino is a popular spot in North Scottsdale, taking care of their neighborhood with hearty American style Italian dishes.  They oriented us to their Vodka Penne, Short Ribs with Risotto, Garlic Bread, all in generous portions, super fresh and decadent.

PicMonkey Collage


One of the best dishes of the meal was the Mussels Fra Diavolo in a rich tomato broth.  Good mussels are hard to come by in this town, both in terms of a solid broth and the quality of the mussels.  Obviously there’s no problem in California, but when you’re land-locked, a good mussel is hard to find.  These weren’t wimpy, had been thoroughly cleaned of sand and were swimming in a bright and rich broth.  Of course, these are a complicated food when it comes to etiquette.  How to extract the mussel? How to sop of the luscious broth?  Fortunately, it’s completely acceptable to dive in and use your mitts with this dish.  Unless you’re at an especially formal dinner, you’re welcome to extract one with a fork, assisted by your other hand, use the fork (usually a smaller utensil, provided by the restaurant) to stab and remove the mussel, dip into the broth and eat.  If the mussels are unattached to the shell, it’s also fine to just slurp the mussel and broth right out of the shell, similar to eating oysters.  Then, after each, place the shells on a discard plate, again, something that the restaurant should provide to you.  The only other quandary is what to do with the remaining broth after you’ve devoured the mussels.  You can eat it with a spoon like soup, or use your fork to spear pieces of bread and sop up broth into the bread.

Want to try this out for yourself?  Head to Cibo e Vino in North Scottsdale, located at 4522 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85266.  Reservations available: (480) 595-6600.