The phrase Mermaid Inn is synonymous with a $1 oyster happy hour in this city. I am confident in saying everyone knows that they have the best oyster happy hour, lobster rolls, complimentary chocolate pudding and those funny floating fish fortunes to round out the meal. However, I don’t think that everyone knows that there is a Mermaid Oyster Bar with basically the same menu on the west side right around Greenwich Village on MacDougal Street. Dare I say so, but I think I like this location even better than the East Village. The candlelit, modern restaurant has high top bar tables in the front narrow room and as you walk further in, it is layered with booths on the left hand side. Then as if there is another surprise, there is an entire back almost circular room that’s a little more closed off. This would be ideal for a big group dinner or big group happy hour for that matter.
Even if you can’t make it to happy hour which is EVERY day between 5 p.m.- 7 p.m., the oysters are still something to order and fun to socialize over. I also love their everything flavored crackers that perch on the table. It’s the little things. Besides the Raw Bar, there are cold plates to share such as: Octopus, Seared Calamari, Fried Oyster Lettuce Wraps with Kimchi Sauce, Lobster + Corn Fritters. I went with the obvious main dish which is the Lobster Roll on a heavily buttered brioche roll. I’ll put it out there that I am not a fan of the overly mayo-ed lobster rolls, and my memory from my sandwich at the East Village location was a bit saucy. However, this roll at the Oyster Bar took a turn for the better with some of the largest lobster pieces that rest beautifully in that buttered bun soaking up just the right amount of flavor. You know those times when there is too much bread on your sandwich and you end up peeling off the ends or some of the sides? Well there is no room for that here because this brioche is rockin’ and you wont want to leave anything behind (even when the lobster runs out). The sandwich might be twice the price of my other favorite pal Luke’s Lobster, but it’s almost twice the size, and you are sitting down in a restaurant where you can order a drink. You can weigh the options here.
The Blackened Atlantic Salmon was also a crowd pleaser. It’s served with collard greens, hush puppies, crayfish butter and smoked jalapeño tarter sauce. I heard a few gasps from my crew about the hush puppies being the best they’ve ever had. For the non-seafood eater who was clearly forced to eat here, you can resort to the hanger steak. Also, each night the restaurant has a special. Look out for Friday’s Lobster Pot Pie with bechamel, potatoes, peas and puff pastry. No need to worry about dessert, because they’ve got you covered here. Little saucer cups full of rich chocolate pudding move in right after your entrees. Nothing to be upset about here. However, if you aren’t into this, you can always walk a few blocks over to Bleecker street which is what I like to call the dessert capital street of New York City and go for the best peanut butter cookie at Molly’s Cupcakes, gelato at Grom, pink cake at Amy’s Bread or some snickers pudding pie at Rocco’s. The choice is yours.