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Flex Mussels

SeafoodRaw Bar

Upper East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightFirst/Early in the Game Dates

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Flex Mussels? Oh right...I get it. Between the cute name and the Upper East Side location, I half expected to learn that the place is owned by Justin Timberlake Inc. Luckily, that's not the case. Flex is a restaurant import from Prince Edward Island, which immediately gives it some credibility - "P.E.I" as they call it, is the source of some of the best mussels the world has to offer. Flex NYC's menu sports twenty plus treatments to the bivalve, ranging from $16-20 for a huge steamy pot. Each variation is a clever combination of flavors named for and taken from regions and cultures around the world. The Southern comes in a broth with bourbon, roasted corn, country ham; The Geisha Girl has both sake and pickled ginger; The Spaniard sits in a pool of spicy chorizo, Spanish olives, and red wine. It's a unique and exciting approach, and it works. We sat at the bar on my most recent visit, a crowded Friday night, and the service was great. So much so, that we ended up hanging late at our bar seat and polishing off more than the bottle of wine from dinner and moving into "sure I'll try that drink you're making" on to "you guys should totally come to my birthday party" territory. It's a lively atmosphere and there is something amazingly satisfying about digging into a pot of mussels and a decent bottle of wine. We'll be making more Infatuation trips as soon as they finish that Second Avenue subway.

Food Rundown

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Half Dozen Oysters

Lots of oysters have been consumed on Infatuation outings recently, and these ones stand out for a few reasons. There are usually four or five types on the menu (varying by the day), but each is described in detail and the staff is knowledgeable. All too often, a server just rattles off a bunch of oyster names at the table and asks you to pick. These guys know what they're talking about, and one person spends most of his night shucking at the bar. All we consumed on our visit were delicious.

Maine Mussels

This is mussels sitting in what was essentially corn chowder with thick cut smoked bacon. It was like sticking my head in a big bowl of October. Fantastic, and I'm doing that again.

Thai Mussels

Mussels in curry coconut broth with lemongrass, lime, and garlic - if you are a fan of Thai food this is probably something you will appreciate. An interesting take on mussels, but take note that you need to be very down with lemongrass ... it's kickin'.

Lobster Roll

Thought about getting a lobster roll, because they're supposedly solid, but market price = thirty bucks. No matter how good that lobster roll is, at thirty dollars I'm going to be mad at it.

Hand Cut Fries

Decent enough, considering you will be drowning them in mussely goodness, but by themselves, these are nothing special.

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Suggested Reading

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Mermaid Oyster Bar

We love the Mermaid restaurants, but an oyster bar? I guess fifteen or so varieties qualify you, but we were hoping for a deeper raw bar and a little more excitement. Where's the oyster inspiration?

Uva image

Uva is a rustic, cozy little Italian Upper East Side spot that is ideal for date night, mostly because it’s easy.

Ed's Lobster Bar image

We’ve put this one off long enough and it’s time to come right out and say it – we don’t love Ed’s Lobster Bar. It’s all reasonable ocean fare, but none of it leaves us anxiously awaiting next time.

Sushi Ishikawa image

Sushi Ishikawa is an omakase sushi restaurant on the Upper East Side where you can eat a high-end sushi meal for around $100.

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