When I first moved to New York, one of the first restaurants I knew of before I’d ever packed my things for Manhattan was Mermaid Inn. A good friend of mine absolutely loved them and I vowed I would make my way over at some point for a visit, and that I’d start with checking out their original location. Now, some two and a half years, I have finally accomplished that. After much coordination, a friend and I were finally able to make it out to check out the Mermaid Inn’s “Taco Tuesday” special. Every Tuesday night, they offer tacos for $6 each. It depends on the location as to the type of fish used for the tacos. We were down in the East Village, where the offering was grilled mahi mahi. At the Upper West Side, the tacos are made using fried tilapia. I can’t say I’ve ever had fish tacos where the fish wasn’t fried – and I’ve gotta say I far prefer grilled. It’s lighter and you don’t have the breading of the fish competing with the breadiness of the taco. Upgrade. Theirs was paired with a light fresh guacamole, made slighlty better with the addition of the lime which was served along with it. We each went with another main, unsure as to what we’d think on the tacos and both agreed maybe next time, it would be wise to just go all out tacos instead.
Not that we weren’t please though. Nina had their spaghetti of the day, prepared with a mixture of different seafood and fresh veggies. At only $16, it was very reasonably priced for such a large portion size. When I saw their crabcake was made with peekytoe crab, my favorite, I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t disappointed. The crabcake was not overly heavy and instantly crumbled as I dug in with my fork. Perfect. The poblano crema it was paired with was a nice touch – far preferred it to a tartar sauce pairing. I had them add in a side of their braised collard – nice and moist and just the right amount of saltiness. Adding all three together made for a wonderful meal.
Oh and dessert! I can’t recall the last time (if ever) I went to a restaurant where dessert was included. Ah. A restaurant after my own heart. It’s basically because they do not offer a dessert menu. At the conclusion of the meal, a small cup of chocolate pudding and a fortune fish appaeared for each of us on the table. The pudding was just enough sweet to satiate any dessert craving. Nice touch. If only others would get on this trend…
I’ll definitely be back! Next time, I want to try the Oyster Bar. Time to conquer my uncertainty of all things oyster. Oh, and the promise of hushpuppies on the sides menu for that location doesn’t hurt!
Mermaid Inn – 96 Second Avenue (between 5th/6th Streets) – 212.674.5870
Oyster Bar – 79 Macdougal Street – 212.260.0100
Upper West Side – 568 Amsterdam Ave (between 87th/88th Streets) – 212.799.7400