I may have stopped recapping Top Chef Just Desserts, but I continued to watch. The show actually got better as the drama went away, and viewers were able to get a glimpse at some extremely talented pastry chefs. The wide range of skills they have is incredible, from wedding cakes, to edible dresses, these chefs are pretty inspiring.
Zac Young is amazing and makes creative, delicious desserts. He will definitely be getting my “fan favorite” vote:-) Lucky for me, he happens to work at a New York City restaurant, Flex Mussels. When one of my best friends from college was visiting last Friday, who also also happens to be a huge Zac fan from the show, I had the perfect opportunity to visit the restaurant!
Flex Mussels has a wide variety of seafood dishes, along with over a dozen varieties of mussels. They also have a chicken dish which was perfect for my seafood-hating friend. The restaurant has a trendy vibe and is reasonably priced in the nice NYC-restaurant category.
A group of 5 of us went to the Upper East Side location for a 9:30 reservation. The place was packed which led to slightly slow service, but the food was so good we didn’t care. Matt and I shared the goat cheese salad plus two varieties of mussels: Italiano and Maine. I really enjoyed the food, but honestly, was saving room for dessert.
Unfortunately, Zac was in the kitchen at the other location that night, but the desserts were still designed by him so I was ok with that. Besides, it gives me an excuse to try the restaurant again.
The five of us decided to choose one donut each and have the waiter choose a sixth for us. He picked salted caramel and I am glad he did! It had a surprisingly complex flavor. My selection was fluffernutter and my friends picked blueberry, meyer lemon, chocolate and peanut butter and jelly. The donuts were the perfect ratio of filling to pastry, a taste of each in every bite. They came warm and fresh with a side of some sort of creamy glaze.
Of course we also had to try Zac’s famous deep fried whoopie pie.
O.M.G. I now wish I had a deep fryer. This was not the boring whoopie pie I have had in the past. It was moist and flavorful chocolate cake sandwiched with cream cheese icing that oozed out as soon as I sliced it. The crispy outer layer was delicious and added a great balance of textures. I’m not even sure what all of the sides were but I think the big scoop was coffee ice cream.
We may have shared this around the table, but I managed to take an extra piece for myself. It was too good to leave behind:-) Definitely one of the top five restaurant desserts I have ever had.
Overall, it was a great night at Flex Mussels. We all left full of delicious food and Matt and I resolved to go back for more mussels and dessert and hopefully catch Zac!
Have you ever met any famous chefs? Did their food live up to your expectations?
I’ve never met a famous chef, but the pcitures of your desserts have left me drooling!
I <3 seafood, but my boyfriend does not. I haven't had a good seafood dish in a long time – however those donuts would quickly make me forget about the main course.
I didn’t know about this place!!!! Oh my gosh I must go immediately hahaha..yay.
i’ll go back!
Sounds like a plan!
And to answer the other question–I once saw Mario Batali walking his kid to school. Does that count? ;) I also have been to Graffiti Food and Wine Bar where Chef Mehta from Iron Chef serves you! That place is wonderful!
Oh, and of course Chef Eiichiro Yamada in Tokyo at Mominoki house, which is the first macrobiotic restaurant in the city! A must go if you’re in Japan!
i’d love to see Mario Batali! That is awesome that Chef Mehta serves you!
I love Zac! Too bad you didn’t get to meet him – but you’re right, at least you can always go back to that restaurant! I’ve met a few famous chefs in Boston, the last one was Joanna Chang of Flour – and yes, her food (and desserts, especially) definitely lived up to my expectations!
Oh I need to try Flour next time I am in Boston!
Zac is my favorite!!! I have yet to meet a celebrity chef…
I did go to Ina Garten’s book signing… does that count?
that definitely counts! was she the same as she is on TV??
I have been dying to try Flex Mussels! You just reminded me to put it on the list that I keep of NYC-Restaurants-To-Try! The salted caramel donut sounds out of this world!
Food Critic/Author Jeffrey Steingarten at the Union Square Farmer’s Market buying organic eggs
Food Network Host Alton Brown at a book signing
Top Chef Contestants Richard Blaise and Andrew D’Ambrosi outside of our apartment building
The Next Food Network Star Contestant Colombe Jacobsen giving a demonstration for Sabra Hummus in Union Square. I then asked her if she had been on Top Chef…
Notice how the list got less and less impressive as it went on?
haha i forgot about seeing Colombe! I was super starstruck when we ran into Steingarten:-)
I’ve never met a famous chef. I love this post. Great looking desserts!!!
I cannot get over that deep fried whoopie pie…it looks fantastic!
oh what a fun experience to be able to eat there!
what an awesome experience.
i once saw marcel from top chef at an event and totally freaked out. but i wouldn’t say i was a “fan” of his. if i ever saw mario batali i might faint.
haha i know how you feel about marcel! i wonder if he is as extreme in real life as he was on the show
I’ve never met any famous chefs, but those donuts look pretty wonderful!
I love Top Chef Just Desserts. The deep fried whoopie looks amazing!
I’ve never met any TV famous chefs, my father-in-law is a pretty well known chef in the chef world though so does that count? His food is amazing! My mother-in-law is a pastry chef and I die and go to heaven every time she makes us sweets :)
that is really cool, you must eat so well during the holidays:-)
This looks like a delicious dinner. The deep fried woopie pie actually looks really great!
The desserts look amazing and I can attest that they tasted delicious! I met Bethany from Real Housewives of New York – does she count as a chef? I have her cookbook! My mouth is watering thinking about that meal!
Salted caramel? Wow does that sound like the ultimate dessert!
I’m so so so so so jealous that you went to Flex Mussels! I need to check it out, now, that fried whoopie pie is definitely calling my name!
you definitely need to try it, so worth it!!
I’m so jealous! I enjoyed the show once it got later in the season. I was sad when that one girl dropped out, her name escapes me right now, but I really liked her.
I have a reservation here next week, and I’m SO glad to hear such a fantastic review of the place!
let me know what you think, you must get dessert!!