Last night KES and I went to Flex Mussels on 82nd and Lexington [they also have a spot on W. 13th b/t 6th and 7th]. We were presented with over 20 choices of mussels. From classic [white wine, herbs and garlic] to Maine [lobster, smoked bacon, chowder and parsley], Flex has got it all. Given it was National Tequila Day, we both opted for a Margarita, so it was a matter of figuring which broth would pair well with Tequila.
I had just completed a short pairing class at Ma Peche [of Momofuku], and attempted to put my amateur pairing skills to the test. We agreed that the South Pacific mussels seemed most congruous and complimentary with Tequila. The South Pacific mussels were prepared with kaffir lime, cilantro, white wine and lemongrass. I learned that in order to pair properly you want characteristics of the drink to mimic those in the food [or vice versa depending on which you’ve ordered first]. We thought the tangy but slight sweet agave flavor of Tequila would pair well with the tangy and sweet flavor of the lime and lemongrass. Whether I’ve described the flavors correctly and/or paired appropriately, I frankly don’t care because they worked perfectly together.
As a side note, I ordered the Spicy Green salad which I would eat everyday for the rest of my life I had to. Highly recommend! Baby arugula, shaved fennel, fresh shaved parm, with a parm peppercorn vinaigrette. Simple yet layered with flavors. And if you’re seeking some raw bar solace, KES ordered some East Coast mussels, and said they were delicious too. Flex has daily Oyster specials, so the East and West Coast offerings are continually changing.
- KES and I shared a large pot of mussels, but I recommend ordering two smaller pots [which we didn’t realize was an option], in order to try more flavors.
- We got slightly burned on the Margs [$16 each, granted it was Patron]. If you’re not thrilled about spending that much on a drink, and really, who is… make sure you ask about drink prices first or stick with wine which was more reasonably priced.
- Given how delectable the broth was, do not eat the bread given to you before your meal. One, you want to save room, and two, you want to soak up all that broth left over at the end with the bread! Best part by far.
All in all, I definitely recommend this place.