The mussels are sourced with the same exacting standards as everything else at this shellfish specialist. Preparations change frequently to keep things interesting, according to season and chef’s whim, but could be served with sausage, anchovy, and olives; Asian-style with coconut milk, lime, and Thai basil, or even escabeche—pickled and chilled out of shell. Ask for a pairing with something from owner Nancy Batista-Caswell’s thoughtful wine list or choose a craft beer—it’s all good.
25 State St., Newburyport, 978-358-8479, brineoyster.com
Ask for a spoon to slurp up every last drop of broth from their inventive preparations, like a combination of red curry, coconut cream, corn, and cilantro, served with crostini.
112 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7378, ckpearl.com