Mermaid Oyster Bar – 79 MacDougal Street, Manhattan, New York

I’m not a big fan of oysters so you may ask why I’d go to an oyster bar. Three answers – it was my buddy Shwen‘s birthday, I love seafood, and I can’t say no to a good happy hour.

Mermaid Oyster Bar is situated in Greenwich Village and is the sister restaurant of the Mermaid Inn, with locations in the East Village and Upper West Side. The Oyster Bar is long and narrow with a small bar upfront, a few tables outside, and a small back room. Whoever designed Mermaid Oyster Bar clearly had one goal in mind – capture the beach. The walls are covered in pictures of serene beaches and oceans alongside nautical-themed knickknacks and light colored walls, all screaming beach house. Looking around I almost expected the ocean to be awaiting me when I walked outside.

Lobster Sandwich
Lobster Sandwich

On a Wednesday night around 7 it was crowded – presumably because of Mermaid Oyster Bar’s nightly happy hour offering half priced drinks and appetizers from 5:30 – 7. Despite being crowded with a nearly 45 minute wait for dinner and a small space, I was amazed that it didn’t feel cramped. I had more than enough space to stand at the bar and enjoy a few drinks and some food before our table was ready.

For appetizers and dinner I ordered:

  • Mini Fish Taco: blackened tilapia, avocado, smoked jalapeno
  • Lobster Sandwich: grilled brioche roll, old bay fries

The tacos were ordered at the bar as part of the nightly happy hour special. Three small bite-sized (well two bites) tacos came out on a plate stuffed to the brim with tilapia. The tacos were delicious. They had a subtle kick to them from the smoked jalapeno which didn’t overpower the taste of the fish. The taco shells were also seemingly freshly fried and weren’t overly crunchy so there was no huge mess of crumbs after each bite. This was a perfect pre-meal bar snack.

The lobster sandwich was equally as delicious. Chunks of lobster coated in a very light mayo was sandwiched between a buttered and toasted brioche bun. Normally I’m not a big fan of lobster rolls with mayo – just give me lobster, butter, and a roll and I’m a happy man. However, the mayo on this sandwich was very light and didn’t turn me off as much as it normally does. There was also some celery in the mixture which gave it a nice crunch every few bites. This lobster roll was served cold, unlike some others (the just plain lobster and butter ones) that will be served warm. The sandwich also came with an extremely liberal serving of fries generously seasoned with Old Bay. These fries were delicious and the Old Bay had me addicted to them.

As a nice complimentary dessert, we were all given a small cup of delicious chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. I can’t say enough about this dessert. Yes, it was only pudding, but I was immediately taken back to my childhood when my mom made pudding. The pudding definitely was dark chocolate and had a little bit of bitterness to it. I loved it and was licking the bowl clean.

The Verdict

I’m a fan of the Mermaid Oyster Bar. The restaurant was buzzing when I arrived and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. On top of that, the food was delicious, the service was quick and friendly, and they gave you a delicious complimentary dessert. I definitely will be back to the Oyster Bar but can’t wait to give the Mermaid Inn restaurants a try as well.

Mermaid Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon