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Nov 5, 2007 08:47 PM

Mermaid Inn UWS

Tonight was the opening night of the Mermaid Inn on the UWS.. Having never been there before and having some pretty decent feedback, we were excited to welcome the place to the neighborhood..

We arrived this evening at 630 to a fairly empty space.. We figured we would have an early dinner so I can get to bed for an early appointment I have tomorrow in RHode Island.. But since I am up with a stomach ache, I figure, I should write the place up.. 0The space itself is pretty.. Very nice open windows in the front of the place, pretty white wood cielings and walls that half way down turn into a darker color.. There is a full bar up front with some tables and a very pretty back room that seats about 40..

We started off with a seafood platter and a shrimp cocktail.. The seafood platter consisted of four boiled or steamed razor clams, a few mussles, some grilled squid, tiny grilled bay scallops, lobster pieces, served with some lemon and a container of homemade "aioli".. Besides a few nicely flavored tiny pieces of squid and scallops from the grill, the rest of the offerings were bland and tasteless.. Not cooked in an herb stock, not flavored afterwards, it was really a pretty boring dish.. Not to mention an aioli that was nothing more then a thick gloppy mayo with a little hint of garlic.. The mayo added nothing to the chew clams or bland mussles..

The shrimp cocktail was neither bad or good..

We then moved onto a fish soup and grilled oysters with sausage.. I am a firm believer that one should not mess with an oyster unless what you do tastes better then just serving it raw.. The oysters arrived oily, tasteless, with a pretty bad little nuggets of pork.. The fish soup was the worst I have had.. It was a thick red mess that tasted of water.. Only after applying all the salt that they had provided us for the bread course did it begin to take on a flavor..

At this point we began to wait.. There is nothing worse then having to wait for expensive food you know is going to be bad.. I was hoping it would go passed the 1/2 hour mark so we can at least leave with out having to try the mains.. I ordered the monkfish with brussle sprouts.. A grilled monkfish arrived completely void of flavor again.. Char marks were ok but, the fish tasted of tap water.. No salt, no seasonings besides a streak of some blackened seasoning.. The brussle sprouts were shredded and piled with butter..

Miss A ordered the 24 dollar lobster roll and it was pretty gross.. I am assuming its not the best time for Lobster because some of the lobsters I have been getting myself have not been the best quality.. The meat was soggy, fishy, and not too plentiful.. Served on a brioche bun, Miss A with my help only finished half her sandwich.. Its a rare thing that one would leave a half eaten lobster sandwich on the plate.. Neither of us had a desire to even pick the meat out of the leftover half..

Service was ok if not nervous and over bearing.. The first drink took 15 minutes to arrive but they would then refill our butter for the bread while we were using it and it was half full..

Granted its there first night but, this is not there first location in Manhattan.. You think the cooks would at least have experience with the menu.. The menu by the way, is not something too extensive or tricky where it would require getting use to..

Dinner was like 138 bucks before tip.. I was shocked out how bad the place was considering the price and its reputation in Manhattan.. I know its opening night but, this place is the second restaurant by the Mermaid Inn.. You would think that with the simple offerings they would be paying extra attention to detail and giving their A game to make an impression.. Its not like these are babes in the woods with no concept of what its going to be like..

Docks, Neptune Room, hell most likely I could have eaten at Ouest for those prices..

Being the UWS, I am sure it will flourish.. I might go back in a few months if someone is paying.. Unitl then, I can replicate any of those dishes at home with a lot more care and success..

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  1. Thanks for the heads up. Iwas planning on going tonight but I don't wnat to throw my money away. Will let others be their guinea pigs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: samiam123

      My question is does anyone else think that the Mermaid Inn downtown is good?

      On a seperate issue, I just got back from my day trip to Rhode Island.. Had a sick lobster roll at Lenny and Joe's Fishtale.. Now thats a lobster roll!

    2. Ate there last night, in the heat of their rush - 7:30ish. We were a walk-in and had to wait about 35 minutes for a chump table in the front room. 35 seemed a little long for the location and the fact that there was an empty 2 top by the front window the whole time we waited.

      It has the same vibe as downtown but an older less eclectic crowd - ergo the hood. Both rooms look great, very rich and nautical. The vestibule was a good idea, but it's very cramped and will only get worse as the weather gets colder. Tables are very close to the bar and host desk, diners at these tables will be very tempted to cop a feel of the waiting butts crowding them and most likely knocking bottles and dishes into seated patrons laps.

      I was impressed that they seemed to have their moves down for the most part, day 3. Our waiter was brought over from 2nd Ave as were a few others. The busboys and other staff were a little shaky but professional. The host desk staff seemed less confident and had a bit of the deer in the headlights look most of the night.

      We had the steamed mussels, iceberg wedge, monkfish and Spaghetti With A Salad On Top. I found everything either good or very good.

      Mussels were good, could have used a bit more kick in flavor, but it was for 8 bucks.
      Iceberg wedge was fairly typical - good blue cheese and vinaigrette, and slivered raddish was really only thing that made it slightly interesting
      I agree with Daniel76 - the Monkfish wasn't anything special, except the hazelnuts were a tasty add. The sides were kind of bland.
      The spaghetti was delish, spicy, tasty sauce, perfectly done pasta, good pieces of seafood - scallops, shrimp and squid. The simple arugala salad on top was a nice addition.

      I actually like the concept of no desert menu - just a simple chocolate mouse / pudding sample to say "thanks for dining with us, go to Grom and get the f out so we can turn the table".

      All in all, a great addition to the hood, maybe a little pricey, but it's gives a taste of downtown in an area struggling to find it's identity amongst more and more new banks and drug stores. Request a table in the back room for more intimacy and fewer butts.

      1. Ate here last night after waivering on if we should go or not. Decided after having Spotted Pig for lunch to keep endulging myself and keep the res.
        Had a 9:15 Res, and got seated around 9:30. The front of the house was crowded, and looked to be a good amount of walk in business.
        Impressions on food: Started with little necks and seafood aioli, little necks were out, so went with wellfleet oysters. Both were good, with the aioli being a suprise, well seasoned, and large portions for only $11, much better value then what you get down the street at Neptune. The oysters came with a chili oil mignonette, and a sort of cocktail sauce that was well spiced. Enjoyed both dishes. We then split the Bleu Cheese wedge, which they split without us asking, which was nice. Once again good flavors, with crisp radish slices playing well with the creamy cheese. For mains, I had the salad over pasta, and my SO had the fried oysters. The pasta was good, spicy and maybe a little lacking on seafood, but the scallops where cooked well as was what little octopus I had. The fried oysters where also enjoyable, with the sweet italian sausage playing well with the oysters. Had a side of the sauteed spinach, and it had good flavor and nice large slivers of garlic. Better than the spinach that was atop my pasta.
        Service impressions: It's the first week, and they really didn't do too many F&F meals before opening (I live upstairs, and have been watching for the opening), so I don't want to be too judgemental. The service was good when it was around, but pacing of courses was a little long, and our server was clearly hurried, as a 4 top, 2 and 3 2 tops, in addition to her other tables were sat for her all within 5 minutes. We got out in about 2.5 hours, which was a little long, but atmosphere was good, as was the food.
        Overall impression: Food was good, well seasoned vs. others opinions, and they definitely take people's opinions and are adjusting seasoning, tastes on a daily basis. Surely a good restaurant, that given a few weeks will hit it's stride and start pushing out good food, and have service that matches.
        I will go back again, but maybe in a few weeks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: UWSEater

          Edit: replace octopus with squid. Early morning combined with a pint or 2 too many induced the mistake.

          1. re: UWSEater

            How much were your wellfleet oysters.. I believe they were selling for 3 bucks a piece the time I went..

            1. re: Daniel76

              Not exactly sure, I was going with the littlenecks initially and they switched on me.
              It was a half dozen though.
              I was treated to dinner, so not sure of the bill.

          2. Took a first crack on Friday night with a reservation at 7. The place was overcrowded with people spilling at the door, but they didn't make us wait at all for a table. Back room, slightly quieter than the front room, has tables EVERYWHERE. Don't know how the staff doesn't kill eachother with that little space.

            Had six Wellfleets to start and they were absolutely pristine. I loved the mignonette sauce, and even the cocktail sauce was tasty. My friend had the seafood aioli, which was a great deal - $11 for a platter of seafood with a great, creamy aioli. I know the first poster didn't like it, but my friend found it very tasty. We both had the skate for dinner, which was fantastic - slightly crispy in a cinnamon-scented broth with perfectly cooked israeli couscous.

            My favorite thing about the meal was the wine service - even when you ordered a glass of wine, they brought the bottle to the table to display the label, let you taste the wine before accepting it, and had a very generous pour.

            People on both sides of us were enjoying the lobster sandwich. We will definitely be back, though maybe at a more off hour the dining room would be slightly more peaceful.

            1. Went last weekend - will not go back unless I start to read decent things about it here.

              8:30 rezzie. Seated fairly promptly. Service was spotty. Patrons were only slightly obnoxious, but I can put up with that. Sat in the back room, which was quieter and cozier. Had a nice gingery cocktail, but was done in a few sips.

              SO ordered the shrimp cocktail (limp shrimp, sauce was decent) and I had the oysters and sausage (two of my favorite things in the world, combined) which was only so-so. SO had the pasta with a salad which was well sauced and seasoned, and frankly much better than my skate, which was overcooked and tasted only of salt - wayyyy too much salt. Wine list was jsut ok - not terribly inspired at all.

              I was disappointed - although I never ate at the EV location, a friend I trust really likes it and I had hopes this would be a nice addition to the UWS. It's not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mjps2

                I ate there last week and really liked it! Great addition to the neighborhood!!