If only Cafe Brussel (124 Danforth, 416-465-7363) weren't such a nightmare. Ensconced in its spiffy new digs, the Cafe suggests an art deco Deux Cheveaux. It's all burgundies, creams, contrasting black accents, pressed tin and mirrored banquettes. Servers sport regulation gear, black slacks 'n' vests, white shirts and white wraparound aprons. They race efficiently about the two-storey room and overlooking balcony. Accordions play. What's not to like?
For one thing, Moules Diable ($16.95 with frites), served amusingly in the saucepan they were cooked in. Cute until you discover that four of the 40-something mussels were dead before steaming, their shells permanently closed and that another appears shattered by shellshock.
After working your way through almost all of the bivalves, you finally come across this so-called satanic sauce. Some devil! Other than a pinch of cayenne, this is one insipid soup. So what? The baguette ordinaire that arrives after we have to request it -- shouldn't bread be automatic with mussels? -- disintegrates into the puddle anyway.