Flex Mussels
154 W 13th St (6th/7th), West Village
(Also 174 E 82nd St)

Everything about Flex Mussels seems to reflect Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant Zac Young. Even though he is the Executive Pastry Chef, and not the owner or executive chef, customers are clearly coming in for Zac and his desserts. He is clearly the face of the restaurant (see below). The ultra corny name and the stark white, modern interior seem to embody Zac’s flamboyant personality. Our awesome friends, Kim and Jared, invited us to Flex for a special Gilt City 3 course dessert pairing. We had the honor of meeting Zac and talking with him for a few minutes. He was exactly his TV persona, happy, gregarious, and very pleased with all the attention. But while it was a surprise to talk with him, we were really here for his food and wine pairings.

Of the 3 courses, the Lemon Meringue “Pie” Shot and the Peppermint Brownie Sundae were excellent, but the real star was the Flex Trio Mini-Donuts. This warm trio consisted of salted caramel, fluffernutter and cinnamon sugar with a vanilla bean dipping sauce. I can’t stop thinking about the fluffernutter with its salty peanut butter, and sugary fluff encased in sweet dough. Pure genius! The brownie sundae is always going to be a crowd pleaser with dark chocolate peppermint semifreddo and warm valrhona brownie and whipped creme fraiche. It was a perfect conclusion.

It was really a special event with a great flight of desserts paired with exceptional wines, which I won’t even comment on, because my wine knowledge is nonexistent. Each dessert individually would not have been completely satisfying, but as a progression, it worked really well. Zac Young may not have won Top Chef, but with his strong personality and even stronger sweet offerings, he may win over NYC one diner at a time. Next time I will have to check out the mussels – I’m sure they are pretty good too.