ok - i went on friday - here is the review i posted on another, often loathed by CHers, site:
23 kinds of mussels. i think there's other stuff on the menu too. but how can i even look, when the place has mussels in its name, and 23 kinds on the menu. sure someday i'll go for the lobster roll. or something.
the place is very stylish - i did not get as far as the main room, as i ate at the bar, but it looked ok from there. The front room was nice, minimal metallic, very new york. one side of the room was the bar, and the other side was counterish seating , high metallic backed stools and a brushed metal counter. (no linoleum, i assure you)
the place is new, and it is a friday night, so it was pretty packed, but they were very sweet and helpful creating a comfortable space at the bar when all the seats were taken.
bartenders are friendly, and seem competent, although i did not have a mixed drink, but the beer menu is fairly extensive, and i got a trois pistoles, a nice dark canadian ale.
the mussel choices were far flung.
a few that caught my eye include:
Abbey: belgian triple, caramelized onions, orange zest
Negril: red, gold and green peppers, jerk, lime, garlic, red stripe
Big Apple: apples, sparkling apple cider, button mushrooms, cream
Bombay: indian curry, mango puree, coriander, garlic, ginger, lime, white wine
Dubliner: guinness, toasted walnuts, caramelized onions
Green Fairy: absinthe, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, cream
there are many more (well 16 more) plus a 23rd that is the flavor of the day. (hail eris) i ordered #23. the special was a tarragon and black truffle sauce w/ a little cream. YUM. subtle well balanced flavors, not overly creamed, not aggressively spiced (i'm not against aggressive spicing, as you know, but this was a sauce that called for restraint).
ok - so why not 5 stars. 2 things really took that star off. 1) the serving size was a bit small. not outrageously small, not infuriatingly small just small enough to notice. Also the mussels themselves were not very large (i know they use p.e.i. mussels, are those typically smaller? i dunno)
2) the fries. they were a bit soggy, especially as i got further down the cup they were jammed in. they tasted good, but a fry needs to be crisp
the place is only a week old. hopefully these are kinks that will be shaken out,
i plan on exploring this menu. i see mussels in my future. (and suddenly i sorta want a lobster roll)
174 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
Thanks for checking this place out - will have to add it to the list. At first, I thought you meant 23 kinds of musssels (i.e., different types, as opposed to different ways of serving them!). That Bombay one sounds particularly good.
Edit: Thanks for posting here as well as on that other site, as I never check it out!
Checked out this place last night.
Pretty pleased overall with the food, although service was a little disorganized and slow (though i'm willing to forgive them since it's a pretty new place and it was packed on a Monday night).
Raw Cooks Cove oysters ($2.50/each): A little pricey, but good size, very fresh
A pound of mussels cooked in the "Maine" style with white wine, lobster ($18): Mussels weren't cooked perfectly (a good number undercooked), but sauce was great and buttery, and they even put in two generous big chunks of lobster in the pot, which was a very nice touch.
One lobster roll ($18): Seemed much cheaper than Ed's or Pearl's. Flavor was lighter (less mayo, no capers), bun not buttery, but tasted fresh and I felt it it was a good value. Not sure if the other places have lowered their lobster roll prices now that lobster prices are at an all-time low.
Fish and Chips ($20): A piece of fried cod and a piece of fried haddock. Again, a little pricey, but good flavor, and you could really taste the fish.
Pretty happy with the food overall, will probably be back more often as they are in the neighborhood.
174 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
Went back there 2 weeks ago - alas, they increased their lobster roll price from $18 to $26, so it's no longer a good deal (compared to Ed's, Pearl's, etc). They couldn't really give a reason for the price increase, I guess now that they are doing pretty well they can charge what their competitors are charging as well.
I'm rarely on the UES, but I had to be there over the weekend, so I thought I'd give Flex Mussels a try. I've never eaten at Flex Mussels in PEI, but have visited PEI a whole bunch of times and love the quality of their mussels. PEI mussels can be either large or small, and I prefer the larger ones. I tend to see the smaller ones at those AYCE mussels lobster suppers.
We ordered the fried seafood platter, special mussels with truffle and cream and the mussels with prosciutto. The fried seafood platter comprised mostly of calamari with three shrimp and two oysters thrown in. The shrimp wasn't highly breaded so you could actually taste the shrimp as opposed to eating just breading. Everything was well fried and flavorful. The mussels were delicious. I preferred the truffle mussels. The broth was incredibly delicious. I was getting so full that I stopped eating the mussels and just started spooning the broth in my mouth. Personally, I thought the portions were huge -- larger portions than the mussels you'd get at Landmarc and Resto. I would say the size of the actual mussels were overall on the medium size. The fries were of the thinner variety (think McDonalds) and were pretty good. I did have the issue with soggy fries toward the bottom of the cone, but that may be that it took us quite some time to actually get all the way to the bottom.
Save room for dessert if you can. We ordered the doughnuts. They were more like doughnut holes filled with different creams. From my memory, the flavors were salted caramel, chocolate, cherry, lemon, blueberry, and another flavor I can't put my finger on. All I remember is that it tasted like very strong alcohol, and it wasn't my favorite. It came with a vanilla bean dipping sauce. With the exception of the alcohol-filled one, they were all delicious. It reminded me of Alto's famed lemon filled bombolini dessert served with vanilla bean dipping sauce.
As I said before, it's in a blue moon that I find myself on the UES. But I liked Flex Mussels so much that it will probably be my to-go spot whenever I'm in the mood for mussels.
re: Miss Needle
I had a delicious dinner at Flex mussels last night. I started with the iceberg wedge. The bacon was like cruncy lardons, not soggy thin mangled stips bacon. There was just enough dressing with extra chunks of blue cheese added in. The lettuce was very fresh (what else can you say about iceberg).
Mussels were wonderful. I had the Portugese. Not quite big enough for me, but so sweet tasting. The broth was very savory and portion size was perfect.
Desert...We had the filled doughnuts. All different types of fillings (jam, nutella) with a creme anglaise dipping sauce. They were warm and pillowy without any grease at all.
The wine list is not overpriced and quite nice, geared to whites, of course.
Unfortunately the service was dreadful. Had to ask for wine 3 times on different occaisions. Had to beg for the check and then had to beg them to take it away. It took 2.5 hours for dinner. They said that they were short staffed. I hope so.
The place is hip and gets quite noisy.
I will be back. Let's hope the sevice will be better.
A friend would like to dine at Flex Mussels when we visit in a few weeks, but I'm not a big fan of mussels.
Are there any non-mussel dishes you'd recommend (besides the fried seafood platter, wedge salad and donuts mentioned above)? Has anyone ordered their lobster roll lately?
Hadn't heard of this place, but when I went to the Chocolate Show this past weekend the head chef was doing a demo of his deep fried whoopie pies. They were AMAZING...possibly one of the best things I've ever eaten (and I've eaten a LOT of desserts!). They were super moist chocolate cake pieces stuffed with a sweet cream cheese type frosting, then deep fried and served with a chocolate sauce. YUM! The chef himself (his name escapes me) was hysterical and easily had more personality than all of the other demo chefs at the show combined. If you ever have a chance to meet him, I'd recommend it.
went again last night. had the southern style mussels, the pikku (?) ribs as an appetizer, the whoopie pie and another chocolate dessert.
still not a clunker served me yet, and this time i actually made it as far as the dining room, instead of eating at the bar as per usual. not as hip feeling as the bar, but very comfortable, never a feeling of rush or pressure from the staff even though we took our sweet time about deciding ordering and eating.