I don’t know what it is about oysters. They’re slimy, raw and look really gross…but I sure as hell can’t get enough of them. When I use to go to New Hampshire they practically had raw oysters everywhere for so cheap that I would start with a dozen oysters before my entrée came. Here in New York City, they’re not so cheap so I’m not able to eat them as often, which is probably why I do want them all the time.
My date and I headed over to the Mermaid Oyster Bar because we were both craving raw oysters. The front room was packed and noisy, but when we requested a seat change, the hostess was very accommodating and sat us in the back room where there were only a handful of other diners plenty of space. Gold star for that hostess!
Right away we poured over the menu and I started with a glass of prosecco, my date an oatmeal stout, both tasty. For raw oysters we decided on three east coast and three west coast raw oysters and then snacked on more dishes throughout the night, see below.
Hurricane Harbor: I could do without, very blah and forgettable, I wish we had gotten something else.
Pemaquid: In this case size does matter and I was very impressed by the size of these suckers. Now this was an impressive oyster and it tasted good too. Briny, but not too heavy and it finished off light.
Tatamagouche: Slightly above average and it tasted like the sea (which I love), but I don’t need to have it again.
Hama Hama: At first I thought I hated it, the flavor seemed too strong and attacked my taste buds right away, but after I kept chewing, I fell in love. The taste took a step back and turned into something incredible, refreshing and cucumbery! I couldn’t believe that the accents of cucumber are natural to this oyster. Mother Nature really surprises and knows how to seduce you sometimes.
Kumamoto: Light and small, I would say that this would be a great oyster for those who are hesitant of trying raw oysters. It’s a great way to ease one’s self in.
Hog Island: After the Hama Hama, this came in second. Slightly sweet and a light taste of the sea, the flavors pop in your mouth and dance on your tongue. Ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote dance on your tongue. Really bright and impressive.
Crab claw cocktail: Don’t waste your money. For $14 we got 5 small crab claws.
Lobster bisque: The saddest lobster bisque I have ever eaten before. It wasn’t creamy, there were no lobster chunks and it was bland. I felt like I was eating tomato sauce. I was very tempted to send it back.
Fried clam strips: Less greasy then typical fried clam strips, but extremely tasty. Not as good as Lenny and Joe’s, but pretty good for NYC clam strips. Would definitely get these again.
Fish tacos: I’ve never been a huge fan of fish tacos only because I feel like fish has a very gentle and subtle flavors so the slaw, salsa and sour cream overpowers it to the point that I can only feel the texture of fillet in my mouth, but can’t taste it. While for fish tacos they were very good fish tacos, my date loved them, I still preferred to eat the fish separately. It wasn’t until then that I was able to see how beautifully seasoned the fillet was. It was wonderful!
Chocolate pudding: The meal comes with a free espresso cup filled with chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Yes it’s free, but it’s not very good. Maybe that’s why it’s free?
Sidenote: I have been to the East Side locations where I have had their lobster roll. It’s fabulous. Really, really amazing and creamy lobster filling on a butter toasted bun and a serving of bay fries. My one gripe is the price ($26).
7.5 out of 10 (because that damn lobster roll still haunts me)
Go to themermaidnyc.com for their locations.