When a friend approached me to “try” Flex Mussels, I think my first reaction was “try? I’ve been going there for years it’s one of my favorites!” And she seemed shocked and said something along the lines of “oh, no one really talks about it anymore”.
I spent some time thinking about this. Because it doesn’t make any damn sense. The place was flooded with people for dinner, the food is amazing, and it’s in a great location. Those are the three pillars of championship dining in NYC. Then, it hit me: it’s not “Instagrammable”.
Ohhhhhhh my god. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, considering I have a significant Instagram following myself and I think it has done a LOT for the restaurant community, but is this really what we’ve become?? If you don’t have mussels covered in Raclette cheese, or a pile of them shaped into a statue of Trump that you smash with an oyster shucker, you can’t get press? Whatever happened to the days of delicious and simple food, plated beautifully, with no bells and whistles? And I mean that literally; I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has tried to put actual bells and whistles on their food.
I’ve been blogging for 10 years in this city, and I have an appreciation for creativity in the kitchen, I do. But when does creativity compromise integrity? I have had a lot of these “Instagram foods”, and I can tell you that more than half of the time, they are not enjoyable to eat! I’m all about “doing it for the gram” and getting a sick photo, but that’s usually all it is. Don’t pass it off as NYC’s next great restaurant when we really should be applauding the ones that have weathered the storm in the face of 10-foot cheese pulls and rainbow bagels.
So let’s all take a moment and thank this wonderful NYC institution that is Flex Mussels. When I posted from here, I had more replies in my DM than usual, with people saying “omg I love it there”, “one of my faves!”, and “I miss that place!”
MISS IT?! DAMMIT JENNY IT DIDN’T GO ANYWHERE YOU’VE JUST BEEN TOO BUSY PULLING GOLDEN TICKETS OUT OF YOUR MILKSHAKES.
You see my point. Now see my proof in the pics below. The truffle mushroom mac was devoured in about 5 minutes. Don’t skip the lobster roll or the Thai mussels in the coconut curry broth either. The Amatriciana mussels with tomatoes, garlic, white wine and bacon might be a new favorite though – so flavorful! Their fries are perfect too, they’re the really skinny shoestring kind and they are ideal for broth dunkage.
Go visit sometime – you will not regret it. And if you start hyperventilating over the lack of exploding foods, get the donuts for dessert. They are stuffed with all sorts of things like chocolate, blueberry jam, meyer lemon custard, and peanut butter. Makes a great “pull-apart video”. You’re welcome.
154 West 13th Street
Website Menu: Flex Mussels
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I agree – everything they do here is pretty much perfect. One of my favorites!