Flex Mussels, Upper East Side

Friday night my boyfriend and I got to try out a really spectacular little gem on the Upper East Side, Flex Mussels.  I had never been there but I had heard great things, and it truly held up to its reputation.  Flex Mussels is a great date spot because its theme is unique, the atmosphere is cozy, and the food is spectacular.

Flex Mussels specializes in mussels, obviously.  They serve big steaming pots of mussels in every flavor combination you can imagine.  They’ve got Thai, Indian, Mexican, Southern, etc., etc.  And they serve these pots of flavorful morsels with crusty bread and butter.  Yum yum yum!!  They also have great appetizers, consisting of pretty much every type of shellfish possible.  They’ve got oysters, lobster rolls, calamari, octopus, and on and on.  One look at the menu and I knew this was my type of place!

It’s funny, walking up to Flex Mussels I thought the place looked like crap.  The big blue light-up sign looked like something that would be in front of a take-out Chinese place, and it was so plain and boring.  I walked past it at first because I was so not expecting the exterior to look like it did.  But after staring at it for a second I realized it was the right place, and actually looking back I kind of like it now.  It adds to the whole “hole-in-the-wall” experience.  Maybe that’s what they were going for?  But the inside was totally opposite and very nicely done.  It was very narrow with a bar on one side and a counter lining the wall on the other, and there wasn’t much standing room.  But the back of the restaurant opened up into a larger space.  But despite the narrowness, the ambiance was pleasant and cozy with dim lighting and tasteful decor.

Matt and I got sat at the counter because the place was packed and it was the only thing that was open, but we got sat within a few minutes.  We didn’t order any appetizers because we both weren’t starving, but we did get a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  The menu for mussels was HUGE.  Literally theres like 25 types of mussel pots to pour over.  They’ve got some really interesting combinations like the Copenhagen with bleu cheese, bacon, spinach and cream, and then more traditional pots like their Classic with white wine and herbs.  I could go every day for a month and try something different!  And I’m totally down for that challenge!

I ended up ordering the Thai mussels, which comes in a coconut curry broth with ginger, garlic, herbs, and topped with cilantro and lime.  The waitress said it was the most popular but I had my eye on it before that!  Matt ordered the Bisque, which is soaked in a lobster, tomato, and cream broth with nice hearty chunks of lobster swimming around.

Thai mussels.


Bisque mussels.

Man oh man these made my week.  Matt and I are still talking about how good they were.  My Thai mussels had the perfect combinations of flavor.  The coconut and curry broth was zesty and salty, and the cilantro and lime added a nice contrast of flavor and added freshness.  The Thai mussels definitely had more of a flavor punch than the bisque, although the bisque was delicious in a different way.  The bisque’s broth was hearty, creamy, and with a subtle lobster flavor, and the lobster chunks were tender and sweet and tasted amazing stabbed on a fork with a mussel.

After you dive into the mussels for a little the broth starts becoming visible and is just asking to be sopped up by a big crusty piece of bread, which we did pronto.  This meal was great because you certainly become pleasantly full, but you never feel over-stuffed.  It was really such a great experience, sipping on our wine and working on our never ending bowl of mussels.

I can’t wait for future visits to this place.  My new life goal is to try all the flavor combinations!  This place gets 4.25/5 stars!  Next time you need a comfortable and enjoyable date spot, head here!


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