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.
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.
This is a big serving of tender sautéed calamari with feta and frisee. It's really a big calamari salad, and it's excellent.
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.
Mermaid Inn's standard fry offering. Old Bay makes everything better.
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.