>The Mussel Pot: 174 Bleecker St. New York, NY

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Hooray for monthly-Friday-restaurant-adventures-with-Betsy! She picked this deal up on Bloomspot- so we had $60 to spend for $30. Awesome! Glancing over the very reasonable prices, Betsy was a little concerned that we might not be able to even spend all $60, but I assured her that I could easily eat that much worth in oysters alone if need be.
My photo just does not do this lovely garden justice. Even with beautiful Betsy sitting there in vacation-mode, it just can’t capture what an unexpected city oasis this is. There is a coi pond, rock garden, and a small waterfall quietly tink-tink-tink-ing. It happened to be a gorgeous,  70 degree day that was exactly perfect for eating lunch outside.
 Our waiter, Shane, was excellent right from the start. Funny, charismatic, well-informed, polite AND cute. He made some great recommendations for us and gave us plenty of time to decide while Betsy and I caught up. (she also let me have a taste of her delicious strawberry/basil mojito which I loved- but alas refrained from ordering since I had to go work in a little bit)
 I was SO excited for oysters- one of my favorite foods, but Betsy was skeptical. She’d only tried them once before and was not a fan. As my theory goes, it sometimes takes a second try to like things and I was ecstatic that such was the case here. We ordered 6 west coasts and 6 blue points and they arrived promptly with a trio of sauces; horseradish, cocktail and a champagne vinaigrette (that was gulp-able on it’s own). They were outstanding oysters. Not too brine-y, super-fresh and the perfect size. The only thing I didn’t love was that they weren’t loosened from the shell already as some restaurants do, and they required a little manhandling.
Next we had 2 different kinds of mussels, because after all- anyone who comes to the Mussel Pot and DOESN’T get mussels, well frankly, why would you do that? I was laughing the other day as I read a review on Yelp that complained about how bad the fried chicken was. Ummm. Ya. Don’t go to a mussel restaurant for chicken, genius! Oiy. Anyway, I felt a bit like I was cheating on Flex Mussels since that’s one of my fav go-to spots, but WOW, this was worth cheating for. We had the Asian Thai mussels (red curry, lemongrass, cilantro, coconut milk, couscous) which were creamier than I would have expected, with a little spicy kick that was perfect. We also had the ‘Chef’s Best’ mussels (lobster cheese fondue, pancetta, black truffles  ) which were totally rich, indulgent, and luxurious. The two types actually went well together, which was VERY surprising. When the waiter brought us some bread for dipping, we were pretty much in heaven. (especially with the cheesy one)
I wasn’t stuffed enough to refuse dessert and since Betsy doesn’t have a sweet tooth like I do, she let me pick. I asked Shane about the Nutella Flan and he raved so much about it that I knew I’d made a good choice. I am not a big flan person, but this sounded interesting with chocolate ganache, caramel, roasted almonds and berries and I was SO SO SO glad I ordered it. A deep, rich chocolate/hazelnut flavor that somehow tasted dense and light at the same time. I had no problem cleaning the plate- even with Betsy’s singular teaspoonful.
I would strongly recommend a visit to the Mussel Pot if you love mussels and/or oysters and/or dessert. Try to get a spot in the garden and you will feel like you’ve escaped from the hustle and bustle for an hour. Oh, and don’t have to go to work afterwards so that you too can enjoy a beautiful cocktail!

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