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birthday dinner--mermaid's inn or pearl oyster bar

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Can't decide between mermaid's or pearl oyster bar for birthday dinner! Pearl's seem to have better food, but cramped atmosphere, and Mermaid's seems to have better atmosphere, but inferior food. Suggestions? Also if you have other bday recs, please let me know!

Thanks!

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  1. how about mary's fish camp? less cramped than pearl, and the food is outstanding. though i have to say, the skate wing with creamy cucumber and green lentils at mermaid inn is one of the best dishes i've tried recently.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wleatherette

      Since its expansion next door, Pearl is no more cramped than Mary's. That said, both can be oppressively crowded.

    2. Between those two, definitely Mermaid Inn. Atmosphere is great, and the food isn't stellar, but it is very good. I think Pearl is overrated. Note that Mermaid Inn doesn't serve desserts, but you do get a complimentary and delicious chocolate pudding before you go.
      You might also want to consider Tides or Aquagrill for your food fix.

      1. Have to give big props to Aquagrill. It is our fave seafood restaurant in NYC. Never had anything less than a stellar meal there, including a couple of brunches, sitting in the lounge area eating oysters and of course a # of fantastic dinners. Have eaten at Pearls & Mary's a handful of times & it is a completely different experience than Aquagrill. Much more casual, no reservations=long waits for tables, cramped quarters and the food, while good, isn't in the same league as Aquagrill-jmho. Never been to Mermaid Inn-everytime I'm in the nabe I end up at Sapporo East instead...I need to try it though...

        1. There's always Tides, depending on the size of the party

          1. Pearl, Pearl, Pearl. Oysters, grilled lobster, great wines.