Taste 2: Flexin’ Their Mussels

4/5 shells xxxx

Flex Mussels, 174 E 82nd St, New York, NY.

Excited to try our first exclusively-mussels restaurant, shellsearcher and I made a reservation at Flex Mussels. A subway ride and a few texts later, we arrived with a foodie friend, ready to taste new blends of mussels.

This blog isn’t about the restaurant, per se, but the opening bar of the restaurant had a refreshing and creative beachside ambience. Hanging lights made of buckets. Blue and grey color theme. Cleancut, modern, trendy. In the dining room, a different interest hinted at you. The yellow walls were covered with bright photos, many food-cycle-themed. Notably, not many related to mussels, the ostensible theme of the place.

We were impressed by the variety and number of choices of mussels preparations on the menu. A refresher at the website reminds us that there are 22 options to choose from. Maybe this is greedy of us, but daily specials would be nice too. We had never had mussels mixed in with other non-seafood meat in the same dish, and continued to hold out on that idea – a effectively nixing a good handful of options from the start. We ended up choosing one per person, choosing one more traditional (fra diavolo), one Asian-inspired (south pacific), and one aptly named Portuguese preparation.

The mussels were served in one giant steaming pot each. It was a battle to see who would eat which style, but we worked out a rotational system. In all three dishes, the mussels came in a great size and were plump, fresh, juicy.  Each order came with about 30 mussels, and while we found some sandy ones we didn’t find any closed shells. The more traditional fra diavolo was the unanimous favorite, with a rich tomato and garlic stew topped with basil.

What will bring you back: LOTS of mussel preparation options, in a price gradient from $18-24.
What you might not like: Mood lighting at appointed time.  Fries could have better portions.

Fra Diavolo South Pacific Portuguese
Fra Diavolo South Pacific Portuguese