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Nov 29, 2007 07:15 AM

Mermaid Inn--UWS

Ever eat at a place, and see that it has so much potential, but then you sadly conclude it will likely NEVER live up to all this potential that could easily be met, if only a few tweaks where made? That's how I felt eating when I ate at the Mermaid Inn last night--UWS location. The place was full. I ate at a corner seat at the bar, right near a ridiculously placed "display" of oysters and mussels etc. So the bar seating is very cramped on one side because of this. Further the front door staff was DISTRACTED and BICKERING and CONFUSED fron the moment I walked in. I stood for several minutes while they all looked in a computer utter confused. The place is tiny, how confusing can seating be?? Why is a computer even needed for such few tables. I had muscadet wine $9 and the lobster sandwich $24. Both were forgettable. The very cute bartender was clueless about wine. The lobster sandwich was a stingy portion compared to Ed's and Pearl's. The few french fries on the plate were so salty I could dust off the salt from each fry--awful. While I was on my way to the bathroom a bus boy nearly knocked me out by slamming a kitchen door on me--see the bathrooms are labeled "head" and one bathroom is RIGHT IN FRONT of a very busy kitchen door. I walked out after my meal--NO ONE thanked me for coming, yet there were 3-4 people working the front door last night--utterly clueless front of house staff from what little service I received. I doubt I will return. I rather head down to Pearl's or even Ed's.
Sad. I really wanted the UWS to have a good seafood place because DOCKS doesn't cut it either. (I havent' tried Neptune yet).

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  1. Ora, I was never impressed by the one in the EV, although I know it's a favorite of many on this board. You hit it on the head in that I thought the food there was consistently "forgettable."

    1. Though it can be hit or miss, I'm generally pretty impressed with the EV outpost. Solid, sometimes very good food, reasonable prices, good ambience, and attentive service. Also, I really like their lobster sandwich, though I think I have different tastes when it comes to lobster rolls because I thought Pearl's was bland and used too much mayo, and everyone else on this board raves about it. Remember, the UWS site opened about a month ago, give them a little time...

      1. Ate there the other night. No reservations and at the last second upped our party size from 2 to 3. Got there earlyish-6:15PM and my wife had secured a 2 top by the corner window. She was major league bummed out when I told her we needed to switch to a larger table. The hostess was polite but not super helpful the first couple of times we brought our situation to her attention. We were waiting on our third to arrive so finally I asked the hostess for a third time what the deal was cuz if they couldn't accomodate we would go elsewhere but needed to know asap so we could secure a table wherever we ended up. That got the manager involved-he said due to later reservations we could move to a 4 top but needed to vacate in an hour and fifteen minutes.
        That worked for us, onto the food. Wife had sauteed skate wing which was huge and pretty tasty. I had the spaghetti with salad on top (shrimp, squid, scallops) and it was super salty. Practically unedible salty. Our third had 2 apps-the mussels and a cod cake I believe-said the mussels were so-so and the fried cod cake was ok.
        Place got seriously packed in a hurry. To the OP, there is a back room as well that you may not have seen so the space is double the size. Don't bother with Neptune Room unless you like cheese with your seafood-the chef has an obsession with putting cheese in practically every dish. Sometimes w/o it being stated on the menu as I've discovered a couple of times. Docks is terrible too. A new japanese place, Moyama opened up on Amsterdam btw 80-81st Streets that has decent cooked seafood although thats not quite what you are looking for. Also, the chef from SeaGrill is opening a restaurant in the Excelsior Hotel on 81st btw CPW and Columbus. Telepan has decent seafood. And lastly, the Greek joint on 79th, Kefi I think is ok-I know there has been a divided opinion on that.
        Back to Mermaid Inn-I actually liked the ambience-will give it another go-probably sit at the bar and order differently and see how it is. It has only been open for a short time so I imagine the kinks still need to be worked out.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Fallon

          Thanks Fallon, that SeaGrill sounds up my alley potentially. Frankly, I wish Pearl's or Ed's would open a branch on the UWS.

          1. re: Ora

            Ora-to be clear the restaurant won't be called or affiliated with SeaGrill but the chef is from SeaGrill from what I've heard/read. When I get a seafood craving I go to AquaGrill at Spring and 6th Ave. Great food, great service, like it better (obviously different) than Pearl or Mary's-haven't been to Ed's yet. Not a mayo guy so can't get the lobster roll's around here-did a road trip to Boston earlier this year and ate at the Neptune Oyster Bar in the Little Italy part of town. Just a little bit of butter on the grilled hotdog roll and more lobster than one can possible eat-absolutely amazing. Too bad we don't have the equivalent here...

            1. re: Fallon

              You may like Ed's then, but maybe not for the Lobster Roll. Ed offers more grilled/baked seafood than Pearl's--sans mayo. Love Aquagrill when in the mood for that type of spot.

        2. I am shocked they would put bathrooms across from the kitchen. That's just stupid and gross. Our meal was really good - i love that spicy spaghetti with salad - and since it was packed at 10:30 pm on a friday night, i am not the only one. But they only had one bartender and again - that's just stupid. YOu had to wait forever for a drink.

          1. Your experience and most of the others on this thread are remarkably similar to mine at the EV branch of Mermaid (see my post from 2 days ago on this). There must be an awful lot of people who don't care what you put in front of them. Tell them it's good and they will believe. I doubt that things at the UWS location will improve with time as the other restaurant has been around for quite a while. That lobster sandwich has to be the one of the biggest rip-offs around.