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Mary's Fish Camp - Very Disappointing

  • k

My husband and I were both very disappointed with our dinners at Mary's Fish Camp last week. We started with oysters on the half shell, which were good and came with tasty sauces and fresh horseradish. I wish we had stopped at this point.

I ordered a glass of wine which came in a juice glass, and tasted like cheap airline wine.

We ordered two types of grilled fish from the daily special board. Both came filled with large chunks of raw garlic and herbs. The garlic was so strong, we couldn't taste anything else. We are big garlic lovers, but the garlic stuffing was so strong we couldn't eat it, and it imparted an unpleasant flavor to the fish.

The server discouraged me from ordering a side dish of spinach, because my entrée came with vegetables. The vegetables turned out to be onions and two thin slices of summer squash, a very poor substitute for the spinach I desired.

We stopped at another restaurant, I Tre Merli Bistro, on the way home, and doused the burning garlic flavor lingering in our mouths with a great bottle of Italian wine served by a charming gentleman. The evening was saved, but we sure won't return to Mary's.

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  1. Mary's is one of my favorite places. I have been there about 50 times. There are a few caveats, however. First of all they crank the music up way too loud. Not good. Second, the service can be down right rude. I guess it is supply and demand. Since they have the lines they can set the rules. The servers are mostly from that Sapphic Island, if you know what I mean, as is Mary. Also I would never get the whole fish. I agree totally with what you experienced. The only exception is to get the fried Talapia. Tasty.

    With that said why is it one of my favorite places? One, the best lobster roll I have ever had. Two, the best fries I have ever had. Three, the best hot fudge sundae I have ever had. Four, the skate is tremendous, the trout sandwich and the cod sandwich are unbelievable. The salt shrimp is great as are the chonch fritter side. I think you just had the unfortunate experience of picking the wrong things. Give it another shot. Go for Saturday lunch. But make sure you get there before 2:30 even though they are suppossed to serve till 3:00. They make the rules.As for the wine, I like it in the tumbler! Reminds me of the way Grandma did it. Old school.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BigBoy

      When Mary's first opened up it was a really great place with food on the same level as Pearl Oyster Bar. But it really has gone down hill. They no longer pay careful attention to the way they make there dishes. And the service is just plan rude and pushy. I won't even get into how "zoo-like" it is in there.....sheezz!
      The last time I was there, their where people sitting on the side walk waiting for there take out order. It looked most tacky.

      Even though Pearl's can be a zoo also, its a rather nice zoo. The staff is nicer and take out is quick and painless.

      PS-
      My Grandma never served me wine in a tumbler!

    2. l
      Lawrence of Arugala

      Mary's is TOTALLY overrated...Go to Pearls and have a seafood epiphany!

      1. I had lunch at Mary's a few months ago; sat at the counter and had their fish sandwich. They burned the roll - the sandwich was very difficult to eat...that is: it was a mess. The quality was good. Nothing great. And I was a bit put off by my waitress's snotty attitude. They can take their "rules," and ________ (you know what). I can't come up with any reason to return.

        1. I went there for lunch about a month ago and it was one of the best lunches I had this summer. They oyster roll is even better than the lobster roll and the octopus salad was the best prepared and presented octopus dish I've ever had. We also had a special fish sandwich that was amazing.

          I remember the service being somewhat gruff when I first went to Mary's, but our server that day was great, accommodating without being "I'm Cindy and I'll be your server-fake".

          I heart Mary's Fish Camp

          5 Replies
          1. re: nero

            If you love attitude, cramped seating, way loud music and mediocre over priced food, buy all means go to Mary's

            1. re: Epicurious

              Agreed. Between Mary's and Ed's I can't tell who's better at serving mediocre food at a astronomic price. I haven't been to Pearl's yet. Or have I?

              1. re: bigmackdaddy

                You have not!
                I happen to like eating at a counter, with a delicious Sancerre to go with my delicious mollusks. It's a very straight-forward experience.
                Pearl does this better than their former associate's spin offs.

                1. re: pitu

                  Off topic: I tried the 457 Extra Virgin you recommended and it's phenomenal. I then went to the restaurant, the food is excellent. Thanks for the tip.

                  1. re: bigmackdaddy

                    Cheers! It's a regular item now, although it sells out fast...

          2. I'm fairly certain that the server attitude is supposed to be charming - like that one place in Chicago that I can't remember the name of where the waitstaff would sit at your table to take your order while berating you. It's not charming; It's like being served by the cast of "Grease."

            Our waitress at Marie's came up to us chewing gum and said "waddyawant?"

            What I want is for you to go in the kitchen and procure me one a them lobster rolls and quit with the stupid gimmick.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sourmilk

              Ed Debevic's! But Ed Debevic's was charming in its way. Mary's is not. Either they should be a proper restaurant or change to a storefront dispensing lobster rolls. (Come to think of it, that might be a significant improvement.) The same can be said for Pearl. And don't get me wrong, I really like their food.

              1. re: Dedicated Fresser

                Lobster roll was good, not great. Food was generally OK but overpriced. Certainly not worth the wait on a Saturday afternoon.

              2. re: sourmilk

                That'll be $45, please! I agree 100%. If it were more reasonably priced, I could hack the wait. I had a good piece of fish there for lunch once, but the price was over the top. I used to love kiddingly mean witers at some of the old Jewish delis. They'd crack you up! Somehow it's less funny when you're paying as if it's a high class jernt!

              3. years ago i loved mary's but i think they've lost some of their focus. these days i only go to pearl.

                1. Agree...never liked Mary's...certainly Pearl's is sooo better

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Buddha Belly

                    Been to Pearl's a few times...nothing disparaging to say about experiences there. But Mary's is consistently over the top sublimely delicious; and the service is always NY friendly and effecient. Oh, and Mary can most evenings be found running the place...a HUGE plus.

                  2. Went to Mary's two Saturday's ago for lunch. I had no idea it's such a small place. The server was attractive, vivacious, and friendly and called out to me while I was waiting outside (I was expecting rude). I ordered canadian steamers (avoid this), and the famed lobster roll, which did blown me away. Yet I have to say I was more impressed with the fries than the heavily mayonnaise'd lobster roll itself. The lobster roll at $28 MP I thought a bit expensive. (I asked the server if she was Mary and she said Mary's in the kitchen.)

                    Went to Pearl's last Sunday. I was greeted warmly by the lady at the door. (I was told she's not Pearl herself). I ordered fried oryster (good), salt crusted shrimp (ok but I thought not as tasty as the salt pepper shrimp in Chinese restaurants), and bouillabaisse (very tasty but not spectacular). Not sure I ordered the right things.