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Bistro Vendome's mussel deal is no shell game

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Restaurants are outdoing themselves offering bargains this month, trying to bolster what's always a blah month. But it's going to be tough to beat the deal that Bistro Vendome, the charming French restaurant tucked into the back of Larimer Square, is offering in January: moules & frites for $9.

Usually this special is just offered on Sunday, but in January, Bistro Vendome has extended it from Sunday through Thursday. And what does your nine bucks net? A huge bowl of mussels (too many to eat, really) in a tasty broth that works just as well with the crusty French bread that arrives on your table in a paper bag. There's also a big container of fries that have a sweet edge (too sweet for me, but readers last year voted them the Best French Fries in Denver). Ooh la la.

Of course, with a meal this bargain-priced, it's only fair to order a good bottle of wine. Or five (six?), as our group did last night, which tends to raise the price of the final tab. But we felt good about that -- and who wouldn't, after six (seven?) bottles of wine -- because we were spreading the wealth, as Obama would say, at our annual Ladies of LoDo gathering, celebrating a tradition that started two decades ago. And right now, misery loves company.

Bistro Vendome is owned by Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, who also have Rioja across the street; for more information on the restaurant, including other specials, go to www.bistrovendome.com.

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