Bruni Likes Flex Mussels’ Flavors; Inakaya Is ‘Inconsequential’

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Frank Bruni gives one star to Flex Mussels for its variety of approaches to the bivalve: Flex approaches mussels the way Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerrys approaches ice cream: as a starting point, a canvas, a vehicle for a pleasantly hyperactive imagination. [NYT]

Emporios Roman cuisine is simple and cheap, writes Danyelle Freeman. As for the pizza, [t]he pie crusts ... are so terrifically crunchy and thin, they're more like Frisbee-size crackers. [NYDN]
Related: A First Look Inside Emporio and Its Food

Ryan Sutton weighs in on three new pizza places, including Emporio, where the aroma of basil is intoxicating but the pizza couldve used a bit more crunch. Veloce Pizzeria is a promising work in progress, while Kest, his favorite, ranks with Motorino and Co. as one of the citys best new pizzerias. [Bloomberg]
Related: What to Eat at Veloce Pizzeria

Jay Cheshes isn't impressed by Japanese big-box destination Inakaya, where he feels gastronomic dj vu ... Id tasted this stuff before often better executed and more reasonably priced. [TONY]
Related: What to Eat at Inakaya

Over at the buzzy Locanda Verde, Gael Greene notes some problems with small portions but not with flavor: I love everything Im tasting. [Insatiable Critic]
Related: A Closer Look Inside Andrew Carmellinis Locanda Verde

Andrea Thompson stops in at two popular (and small) West Village spots: Gottino makes the most of its narrow space and the food is anything but a lark; Wilfie & Nell, which has the dark, claustrophobic dampness of an English pub, is a place where the food is meant to sop up the beer and is beside the point. [NYer]

Dish after dish was astonishing in the power and immediacy of its flavors, writes Robert Sietsema about Flushings Southern Spice, which flings open the doors on a half-dozen regional micro-cuisines in South Indian cooking. [VV]