Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 7, 2009 01:28 PM

Flex Mussels - UES

I went for the first time last night. The place was about half full when I got there around 7, and by the time we left at 8:45 it was almost completely full. Overall, poor service and mediocre food.

The wine menu leaves something to be desired. There were few options for buying by the glass, but what was offered seemed a bit expensive.

My SO and I ordered an appetizer of fried shrimp, calamari, oysters, shallots, and aioli. After we had placed our order, someone finally came over and brought us bread. When the app. came out about 20 minutes later, there were no oysters or shallots on the plate. When I brought this to our waiters' attention, he didn't do anything to rectify the situation, not even an apology.

We waited at least another 45 minutes until our order of mussels arrived. It came in a broth with prosciutto, caramelized onions, white wine, and garlic. In general, the flavors were alright. There were two mussels out of the bunch that were inedible. The fries were pretty crispy, which we appreciated, but they only came with about a tablespoon of ketchup.

There were two men sitting next to us who also had to wait about an hour for their food to arrive. A woman (who we later learned was the owner of Flex Mussels) kept coming over to see how they were doing and how their food was (probably a friend). Not once did she ask any of the other customers how their food or service was. Thankfully, the guys told her like it was: poor service and that a restaurant couldn't run this way. One of them had ordered the 1 lb lobster roll which, when it came out, looked like it couldn't have been more than 5 bites. He was shocked at it's small size, looked at the waiter and asked, "Are you kidding me?" He wasn't.

With food and service like this, we will not be returning any time soon. If anyone else has tried it and had a better experience, please share. Until then, I'd rather make the trip down to Café de Bruxelles.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A coworker went last night as well. She said the service was awful but enjoyed the mussels. She said she would return.

    1. i've been there twice (i believe i posted on an earlier thread) and i have to say neither experience was NOTHING like what you describe.

      I had the mussels both times, once with truffles and tarragon, and once the negril style. while the servings were a little smaller than i would like, they were not skimpy, and both dishes were extremely tasty. i was well taken care of, the food did not take a long time to arrive, and while the 1st time the fries were a bit soggy, that was in their first week open, and by the 2nd time there the fries were crisp and tasty. I spoke with alexandra, the owner, she was very pleasant, and interested in my take on the food. (as we talked it turned out she had read my yelp review and took my suggestions into account as they ironed out the 1st week kinks)

      seeing as both these posts about poor service &tc are from the same night i have to assume it was an off night, because my experiences there were nothing like that.

      for more details here is the original thread on the topic:

      i look forward to returning and trying more styles of mussels

      3 Replies
      1. re: thew

        It's certainly possible that it was an off night... I'll give it another try and report back.

        1. re: AriB

          Sit at the bar and let John serve you. He's a rockstar. It's a totally different experience than in the dining room. I promise you, you'll have a much better experience. I've been there a couple times in the past few weeks and I'm blown away by how great it is.

        2. re: thew

          wow... teach me to change a thought halfway through...

          honestly, i don't often say "neither was nothing like" and i thank the grammar police for letting it slide.

        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. Sorry about the bad experience.

            Regarding the lobster roll, I am not sure exactly how it is presented on the menu. However if they mean that they make it from a 1 lb. lobster I can see how the lobster roll could be small. A one pounder is quite small for a lobster and will likely yield only around 3 oz. of meat.