Mermaid Oyster Bar review image

Mermaid Oyster Bar


79 MacDougal St, New York
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When we heard about The Mermaid Inn opening an "Oyster Bar" in the Village, we were fired up like burnouts scrambling for tickets to the Phish shows at MSG. We've been frequenting the East Village location for years now, and the uptown outpost is just as good. They both serve up great fish and a nice lobster roll, and you'll be hard pressed to find a safer bet for a First/Early in the Game Date. I also just recently had an incredible meal at Neptune Oyster in Boston and it's been on the brain ever since. So naturally, we went in to the new Mermaid optimistic and ready to throw down some bivalves. Now, the place has all of the same appealing qualities as it's predecessors and the food is good, but an oyster bar? I guess fifteen or so varieties qualify you, but we were hoping for a deeper raw bar and a little more excitement. Where's the oyster inspiration? How about an oyster stew, maybe a po' boy? The menu is standard Mermaid Inn fare, which is fine, but we had hopes for something a little more inventive. What it comes down to is that the Oyster Bar is perfect for mid-day beers and a dozen on ice, but it's really just another Mermaid Inn. Hit up Flex Mussels if you're looking for some inspired variations on a theme.

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Food Rundown

A Shitload of Oysters

No other way to approach it, but to order a snow shovel's worth of oysters, a few beers, and some fries. Unless you are a hardcore oyster expert, let the waiter pick an assortment from both coasts and go nuts. The deep shelled Kumamotos are particularly amazing.

Sautéed Calamari

This is a big serving of tender sautéed calamari with feta and frisee. It's really a big calamari salad, and it's excellent.

Jonah Crab Cake

A perfectly good crab cake, but honestly nothing that will have you racing back. The slaw that comes on the plate, however, is another story. A thick julienne of celery root and butternut squash, it's sweet and crunchy and very awesome. Not sure if this is what comes when you order the coleslaw side, but it should be.

Old Bay Fries

Mermaid Inn's standard fry offering. Old Bay makes everything better.

Sautéed Spinach

During and after a serious oyster session, some greens can provide a much needed change from all that salty metallic goodness. We like to keep it simple, and the sautéed spinach with garlic does the trick.

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Where To Get Oyster Happy Hour Outside guide image

Where To Get Oyster Happy Hour Outside

Suggested Reading

Fish review image

We found pretty much everything we ordered at Fish to be supremely mediocre, and in some cases surprisingly bad.

Pearl Oyster Bar review image

Almost everything on Pearl Oyster Bar menu is fantastic, but what really keeps us coming back though is the fried oyster sandwich.

The Mermaid Inn review image

A staple in the Infatuation playbook since back in 2003 when we were standing in line outside of terrible Manhattan night clubs and listening to nothing but Brand New and 50 Cent. The fish here is always fresh and fantastic, and the lobster roll is very solid.

Flex Mussels review image

Flex is a restaurant import from Prince Edward Island, which immediately gives it some credibility - "P.E.I" as they call it, is the source of some of the best mussels the world has to offer.

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