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Week in Reviews: Flex Mussels Gets the One

Following in the footsteps of his Socarrat onespot, Frank Bruni hits up the Upper East Side tribute to Price Edward Island's finest, Flex Mussels. He gives it a suspected one star:

"You can have mussels in a skillet with chipotle, chorizo and calamari, or you can have them in a tall, hooded pot with pearls of roasted corn, diced country ham and a bourbon-inflected, mustard-spiked cream sauce...Flex isn’t entirely about the bivalve. It’s just as much about the broth...
That’s as it should be. A mussel can only preen so much. That’s where Flex and its spotlighted fare really deliver, in that a hillock of the mussels, coupled with plenty of broth-soaked bread, makes for a sizable dinner without a sizable check."

The Brunzinator takes aim at another seafood spot, Harbour, with a Dining Brief: "the kitchen...operates with an ambition that could almost be called poignant, given the increasingly casual tack that diners are taking...My dinner was a foamy, frothy cruise..There’s nonetheless some arresting food and impressive cooking at Harbour..." [NYT]

Gael Greene almost writes less than a rave for Locanda Verde, but is won over in the end with a free dessert: "I can’t wait to go back. I’m thinking about that food a lot...Admittedly, I’m disappointed at how meager our pork dish is, how scanty the curls of crunchy skin. But then a quartet of DeMasco’s splendid desserts sent as a gift sends us off on a high." [Insatiable Critic]

The RG likes the pizza at Emporio, but has a few snafus with the pasta and the rabbit. She awards it the threespot: "The pie crusts at Emporio are so terrifically crunchy and thin, they're more like Frisbee-size crackers. The best pizzaiolas - the guys making the pies - are true chefs. My favorite is a warm Frisbee cracker topped with super-smoky guanciale, kale and Pecorino cream." [NYDN]

Plattypants is back from vacay this week and has filed a twofer on Aldea and Apiary, awarding both two stars and praising the merits of restos with "low-profile chefs" like George Mendes and Scott Bryan: "With its pocket-size kitchen, its small but sophisticated menu, and its technically accomplished, low-profile chef, Aldea looks like a prototype of the gourmet restaurant of tomorrow, and maybe it is...everyone at my table went slightly nuts over was the arroz de pato, a kind of newfangled trencherman’s paella." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: The Cuozz is on the expense account beat with the pricey Marea and Montenapo, Oliver Schwaner-Albright can't get enough of Cafe Pedlar, Alan Richman runs the second part of his NYC pizza recs, Tables for Two checks out the bar scene at Gottino and Wilfie & Nell, Ryan Sutton weighs in on Keste, Emporio, and Veloce, Metromix has a mixed bag for Butcher Bay, Sarah DiGregorio checks in on Cure and Ballaro, and Robert Sietsema heads to Flushing for Southern Spice.

THE BLOGS: Nick Solares gives an A to Marea, Mona's Apple has a disaster at 10 Downing, eateryROW likes Five Points despite the older crowd and high prices, Feisty Foodie rates the sandwiches from the banh mi cart, A Tiger in the Kitchen gives Pho Sure"s been peen the attention it deserves, and NYC Food Guy finds some worthy bagel toppings at Zucker's in Tribeca.

[photo credit]

Flex Mussels - West Village

154 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011 (212) 229-0222 Visit Website

Locanda Verde

377 Greenwich Street, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 925-3797 Visit Website


31 West 17th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 675-7223 Visit Website