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Mermaid Inn vs Black Pearl vs Sea Salt

for a midweek, low-key, not exhorbitant dinner. Any feelings, dogs?

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  1. I like Mermaid Inn. Haven't been to the others

    1 Reply
    1. The lobster roll at The Black Pearl was awesome. They have great homemade lemonade, as well. Not sure about their other items.

      1. I love Mermaid Inn and they give everyone a little chocolate pudding for dessert.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hbeeman

          free pudding? are there any other restaurants that give out complimentary desserts/dishes?

          1. re: hbeeman

            oh, that was the best part! after a bottle of wine, it's such a pleasant surprise!

          2. I am not a fan at all of Black Pearl other than for take out lobster rolls. There's something about the room, the staff and the food that just doesn't sit well with me.

            Mermaid Inn's lobster rolls are good but not fantastic. I like the restaurant a lot though.

            However, why not go early to Pearl and have the ultimate with a glass of crisp white wine?

            1. Thank you all! I'll probably go with Mermaid --

              3 Replies
              1. re: sea97horse

                Just went to Sea Salt last night and have to say, wanted to like it a lot but they are still "feeling their way".

                Room is all tiled (floor to walls) with no carpet or curtains to absord the sound. Makes for very loud noise reverberation, especially when the doors are open onto 2nd Ave and trucks are going by as they were throughout dinner. I'm not opposed to loud or buzzing rooms -- a lot of time the vibe can be great but this was just plain loud.

                My date and I had two apps and two entrees along with a $40 bottle of Riesling. No dessert or coffee. Total bill came to $125 + $25 tip (service was good) = $150. Which seemed steep for what we were served both quantity or quality-wise.

                Food-wise, scallop appetizer was EXCELLENT, although three per serving at $14 cost seemed expensive. Grilled octopus tasted a few days old (not what you want grilled octopus to taste like).

                Entrees we chose were the whole dorade (nicely done and quite fresh) and red snapper fillet which tasted less than fresh as well. Disappointing given the premise that they serve pristine, fresh fish.

                Overall, I'd give this place another shot but with some degree of hesitation. My date and I both agreed they won't be running the Mermaid Inn out of business anytime soon.

                1. re: Vinoguy

                  I got a main course of three scallops at Mermaid Inn once for $18. I mentioned it to the manager (only after he asked how everything was) and they credited us $5 which i thought was nice of them. They said that normally there are four but the scallops are done by weight and I must have received three large scallops. My response : I understand that but when I order scallops for $18, and three come out, doesn't make a good impression regardless of the fact that they may have been marginally bigger than ones they usually serve (they were by no means huge).

                  But I enjoyed my dish, appreciated the way they handled the situation and enjoy the chocolate pudding they serve after the meal so I have returned.

                  Basically, whenever I dine at a seafood restaurant in NY regardless of how casual, I expect to pay a more than I would at a casual restaurant of any other style/type. It hurts and keeps us from doing it every night but it's something i've grown accustomed to.

                  1. re: Vinoguy

                    I believe Mary's Fish Camp and Pearl Oyster Bar both serve 3 scallops to a serving and prices are close to $20. $14 doesn't seem steep at all.

                2. Visited Sea Salt earlier in the week. And I would second the "finding their way" sentiment.

                  My table really wanted to like this place. Unfortunately the staff is unfamiliar with the menu and wine list. Moreover, they seemed very nervous (even a little sweaty) for a pretty mellow Monday night. Additionally, the signature dish which we were all excited to try is no longer on (or "off") the menu until "the staff is up to speed." Ugh.

                  My advice is to give it a month or two and see what happens. Lots of potential here. Fingers crossed.

                  1. Went to Sea Salt last week. The noise was pretty hard to deal with, but far worse was the smug, self-congratulatory attitude of the Big Man himself as well as the waiters and hostess.

                    the food was only okay. Dorado slightly overcooked (just slightly), the octopus was tender but tastless and three three sea scallops were smothered in a nasty tomato sauce that tasted canned. Don't know if it was or not.

                    Normally, I'd be alot more tolerant, suggesting that you try them in a few weeks, but think it's fair that a restaurant earn my respect, not assume that I am lucky to be there. Feh.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mhughu

                      I went to Sea Salt 2 weeks ago.... I thought it was just OK... I can understand that they are still figuring things out since they just opened, but they brought us all of our food at once and the table was so cramped it made for an uncomfortable dining experianece...

                      1. re: slc521

                        FYI - I just read that Black Pearl is now closed

                    2. I went to Mermaid Inn once. The service and ambience were excellent. The food was good, not great. Maybe we didn't order the best entrees?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        I don't think you ordered wrong. Mermaid Inn is good/solid, but I wouldn't call it great. I still like it, though.

                      2. I actually managed to be angry walking out of Black Pearl because the service was so bad. I will never be back there, and will encourage anyone who asks to avoid the place.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: randymac88

                          That's good, because it closed...

                          1. re: slc521

                            That's really too bad. Even though their service was terrible, they had the most authentic fried clams in the city.

                            1. re: selizara

                              I went to the Mermaid Inn's first opening night on the UWS.. I thought the food was below par.. The lobster roll was bad, the fish soup was tasteles,, the roasted oysters were oily, and the monkfish was completely flavorless..

                              I am sure there are some good things there just nothing I have tried..

                              1. re: Daniel76

                                i went to the black pearl for takeout. food was simple awful. had the baked clams. a seemingly easy dish to make correct. inedible. are two of them and threw out the rest. the fried clams were ok. nothing special. apparently all they do well is the lobster club. they should just stick to that kinda like what shake shack does with burgers. i went there in august or september.

                            2. re: slc521

                              I hope this is not true because a friend of mine arranged an evening tonight at Black Pearl! I guess they're back in business, or they never closed?

                              1. re: equilibrist

                                ....did you end up at Black Pearl? If so, how was it?

                                1. re: LeahBaila

                                  Yes, we went--we actually were mainly meeting for drinks and a friend had picked it out for the oyster happy hour. That was a deal--$1 each for Bluepoints. I remember when oysters were a dollar at Five Points during happy hour, but that was long ago. Last time I was there (Five Points), they cost $2 each during happy hour. I recently saw that Belcourt advertises oyster happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., but the price wasn't posted. Does anyone know what they charge and what they serve?

                                2. re: equilibrist

                                  They used to be located inside a bar in the East Village; then closed and re-opened as their own restaurant in Chelsea.