I was a little hesitant to try mussels, based on my experience trying oysters, which went like…
and and ended like…
After a lot of persuading, I decided to give them a go, especially after hearing rave feedback on the 23 variations available at Flex Mussels. Worst case scenario, I knew there would be donuts as our finale, and I’m not opposed to making a meal out of the donuts from Flex Mussels.
To start, my friend had their oysters, which she said were quite good. We think our ticket must have been misplaced because all of the tables around us were seated after us and their food arrived well before ours. Our server was great though, and put up with my game of 100 questions. “Is the sauce flavorful? Oh it’s creamy? Slightly creamy or super creamy and heavy? You say the sauce is light … does that mean the mussels taste really fishy then?” – difficult much? And after all that, I of course ordered what I’d originally planned on ordering.
The pot looked intimidating when it arrived. I quickly understood what people meant about the sauce as I mopped up mine with bread. I felt like going with anything too basic at Flex would be a waste since they have all of the unusual offerings. I ordered the “Thai”, which featured a sauce of curry coconut broth, lemongrass, coriander, lime, garlic, and ginger. Several friends had recommended it and they did not lead me astray. So good! The flavor was strong – not so much as to overpower, but just enough to ease this rookie’s nerves. Others which I’m tempted to try next time would be the wait staff’s favorite, the “Parma”, with parmigiano cream, meyer lemon, scallions, toasted garlic and shallots… or the “Spaniard” – chorizo, sweet peppers, spanish olives, red wine, and tomatoes. So good.
My friend had their lobster roll, which looked good. She ordered some Old Bay seasoned fries to accompany (if you’re getting mussels, you can do without the fries – but if you get them to go with a non-mussels dish, Old Bay is the way to go. The others were pretty bland). The amount of lobster was very plentiful. To me, the mix was too heavily slanted towards celery – I found that a bit distracting, although the sandwich was very fresh.
And even though we were not particularly hungry, we stayed true to our original reason for the trip to begin with – those donuts. Now, you might recall I have eaten these before. However, we’d both learned of Flex’s “off-menu” addition of a boozy donut, which varies daily. Intrigued this was initially what drew us in. This particular Friday, the donut was filled with a White Russian-esque filling. We each ordered three donuts in total – I went with the special donut, the strawberry shortcake, and the fluffernutter.
I have to say my least favorite was the White Russian, though I applaud their creativity and am curious to see how this might evolve over time. Heart is in the right place! The filling came off as kind of stiff – interesting seeing as they are freshly filled when ordered. The fluffernutter was great – how can a union of peanut butter and marshmallow not yield something wonderful? The best though was the strawberry shortcake. As I noticed in the pop-up shop in Grand Central, the fruit filling are where these shine. Next visit, I’m doing for their Original Deep Fried Whoopie Pie – dark chocolate cake, cream cheese filling, and caramelized white chocolate cream. Swoon.
154 W 13th St – 212.229.0222
174 E 82nd St – 212.717.7772