Okay, I know it's a hike. But if and when you next find yourself in the Big Apple, you should make it to one of Flex Mussels' two restaurants. Yeah, I know, cute name, but the food is seriously great. And a bargain.
Several months ago, I had the chance to eat at their downtown restaurant with my wife. We started dinner with half a dozen Shigoku oysters from British Columbia and a bottle of Cave des Tilleuls Fendant de Vetroz Chasselas ($48), from Switzerland.
Here's what's wrong with writing about food: How in the world can you describe how well these two got along?! Something about the zesty brine and hints of melon (yes, melon) in the oysters really hit it off with the wine's delicate floral and mineral qualities.
And as you can guess from the restaurant's name, they're all about mussels, which are served hot and heaping in bowls of various broths. And by heaping and bowl, I mean it. I defy you to find that many mussels — and done so tenderly — in Florida for a mere 20 bucks a bowl. My wife's Provence style mussels, in a broth of basil, orange peel and Pernod, were lovely. My Mediterranean iteration, featuring shrimp, kalamata olives, fennel, lemon, anis and oregano, was fantastic.
I'd like to say I regret not tasting Flex Mussels' famed desert donuts, but ours was already a perfect meal.
Flex Mussels 174 East 82nd Street, New York, NY, 212-717-7772
Flex Musslels 13th Street 154 West 13th Street, New York, NY 212-229-0222
Top image via Flex Mussels; bottom image: via TheGloss.com