Every once in a while I go on an intense Yelp search to compile a list of restaurants for the Boyfriend and I to try out over a time period of a few months. It’s always fun to find new restaurants with amazing deals that I’ve overlooked all this time. Mermaid Inn is a restaurant that fits that description perfectly. With three branches and the high rating of 4 stars on Yelp for all of them, I knew I have been missing out on something amazing.
The Mermaid Inn in the East Village might just become one of our regular restaurants because of their Happy Hour (5:30 to 7:00 PM) menu. Unlike the Mermaid Inn in the UWS, who only offers $1 clams for happy hour, the East Village location offers $1 East Coast oysters and $1.75 West Coast oysters as well as $1 Littleneck clams. The Happy Hour menu also offers appetizers, cocktails, wine and beer at discounted prices.
We arrived a little before our 6 o’clock reservation and were seated immediately. The bar and the sidewalk seating were both already full. There were even people hovering around the bar without seats. We decided to order some wine first while we perused their menu. The Boyfriend went with a glass of sparkling ($6.00) and I decided on a glass of rosé ($6.00). Despite both glasses being their “house” wine, they were still very good. I particularly liked my glass of rosé – very sweet and not too dry. They also offer a variety of Happy Hour cocktails for just $7 each, which is almost half off the original price.
We decided to try out the oysters before ordering too much of them. Their East Coast option of the day was Barcats from Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and their West Coast option was Pacific Kiss from Barkley Sound in British Columbia. We went with 4 EC oysters, 2 WC oysters and 6 Littleneck clams to start. The Barcats were very good – possibly the best EC oysters I’ve had. I liked that Mermaid Inn offered other EC oysters besides the standard Bluepoint. The Pacific Kiss were also very good – very creamy and sweet. And you can never go wrong with some fresh Littleneck clams. All three were very clean – I didn’t get a single grain of sand or shell. The oysters were well shucked – with the occasional sticky one that refuses to let go of its shell.
We also ordered their Fried Calamari off the Happy Hour Menu ($7.00). They were very crispy and crunchy. The main difference with Mermaid Inn’s calamari was the breading. Instead of a sprinkled breading, the fried covering was thicker and more uniform. As a result, the calamari was a lot more crispy than other calamari’s that I have had.
Since we were planning on ordering more oysters and clams later on in the meal, we only ordered sides. The Boyfriend is a big fan of Old Bay over fries, as am I. We liked that their Old Bay Fries ($6.00) were thin and crunchy. The fries were heavily seasoned with Old Bay, which gives them such a nice flavor besides the usual salt and pepper.
Our other side order was their Mac and Cheese ($8.00), which came baked in a tiny little pot. It was the cutest thing ever! The cheese sauce was very creamy and we knew for a fact that it wasn’t cheddar. We guessed that there was some Gouda and possibly Parmesan used in the mix. Regardless, it was very light and delicious. Definitely a must try!
The cutest thing of the night though, was the complimentary dark chocolate pudding and the infamous fish fortuneteller. You take the fish out of the plastic wrap and place it on the palm of your hand. Depending on how the fish curls, it will tell you your mood. It was so entertaining that the Boyfriend and I completely forgot about our pudding and just kept playing with the fish.
It might not sound like we ate much, but after we finished our sides, we decided to order 8 more Barcats and 6 more Littleneck clams. Our total intake came up to 12 East Coast oysters, 2 West Coast oysters and 12 Littleneck clams. I think that’s the most I’ve ever eaten in one sitting. And it didn’t break the bank either! I know I will definitely be back to see what other oysters Mermaid Inn has to offer. At prices like their Happy Hour special, Mermaid Inn really can’t be beat!