Mary’s Fish Camp
Photo Credit: On The Inside
64 Charles St.New York, NY 10014
The last time we reviewed Mary’s Fish Camp, we weren’t just drinking the koolaid – we were butt chugging it. And in many ways, it was for good reason. We, like pretty much everyone else, have always loved Mary’s famous lobster roll and the restaurant’s beach-shack-in-the-village vibe. But with age, Mary’s has developed some flaws, so it’s time for a re-review, to reset expectations.
The dishes Mary’s is known for are still worth the hype. The aforementioned lobster roll is amazing, assuming you can get down with the mayo-heavy variety. The mussels are always fresh and delicious. We love the oyster Po’ Boy, too.
But there are not so great things on this menu that we need to talk about – like the fish tacos. You could roll up some deep fried Montauk Monster into a taco and I’d probably eat it. But at Mary’s, the only flavorful thing about their fish taco is the corn salad that comes on the side. Then there’s the spicy and citrusy shrimp burger that falls apart like a misunderstood quinoa patty the second you take a bite. And over time, we’ve found the chalk board specials to be hit or miss. So, unless you spy something irresistible on a neighboring table, we recommend sticking to the main menu.
Beyond the food, we highly recommend avoiding Mary’s for dinner. It is incredibly hectic with tables so close together, you’ll be swimming in your neighbor’s chowder before you even look at the menu. I selfishly think the drink list is great because Red Stripe is my favorite beer, but otherwise the options are very mediocre. And no matter how quickly you order and eat, you’ll feel like both the hostess and wait staff hate you the entire time you’re there. That is until they kick you out as soon as you ask for your check, at which point you will know for sure.
During the day, Mary’s is significantly more relaxed, and is a better time to enjoy the atmosphere and food. That’s when you should hit it. Plus, the lunch menu tends to have better options than dinner anyway.
Listen to your mother when she says nothing good happens after sundown, because when it comes to Mary’s, she’s right.
Pan-Roasted Moosabec Mussels
Mussels in white wine and butter sauce will no longer do the trick after you get a whiff of these bad boys. We’ve had several versions of this dish at Mary’s over the years with different flavor preparations, but this burnt orange and thyme sauce is on another planet. Order it, and see if smiling at the wait staff helps you get more bread for sopping purposes. We’ve had mixed results.
Mary’s doesn’t necessarily do anything super creative or special with their lobster roll. They just do it right. This is absolutely one of the best lobster rolls in the city. Just know that it’s pretty small for the price, and it’s definitely heavy on the mayo. We also love it for the liberal use of lemon juice in the mix. Oh, and get the shoestring fries on the side. Side salads are sad.
Canadian Steamers with Drawn Butter and Lemon
These are some of the most bland and average steamers we’ve ever had, which is disappointing given that Mary’s kitchen has to have some seafood spices somewhere in it. Keep it movin’.
Fish Camp Oyster Po’ Boy
This is my seafood sandwich soul mate. The bread is fluffy and crunchy all at once. The deep fried oysters have a perfect texture, even with all the other funky toppings. And speaking of toppings…there are pickles. There is slaw. There is a sauce that they claim is made of just mustard, ketchup, Frank’s Red Hot and mayo. But if you told me it had a lil’ black tar heroin in there too I wouldn’t be shocked. That would explain why I’m jonesing for it 24/7/365.
Shrimp Burger with Sambal Lime Aioli and Daikon Slaw
This is pretty much what you’d expect from a shrimp burger, except what does one expect from a shrimp burger? Shrimpiness? All we know is that it doesn’t hold up very well when you eat it, and that’s really annoying. Probably not worth your time.
Chipotle Grilled Fish Tacos
We’re not proud to say this, but we have found some fish tacos we would not eat twice, and they reside at Mary’s fish camp. These really don’t taste like anything, other than disappointment.
Since everyone around you is eating Mary’s ridiculous looking hot fudge sundae, it’s impossible to not order dessert. Both the traditional sundae and the banana pudding will finish off your meal just right.
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