New York / February 18, 2010 / dinner

Winederlust Rating (details below): 7.4 out of 10 / Winederlust Worthy: Yes

I had expected the Mermaid Oyster Bar, on the edge of Greenwich Village, to look more like a ramshackle fish shack. Instead, it reminded me of an
upscale Nantucket restaurant, its white walls covered with pictures of
beachy-looking scenes and a specials board announcing the day’s oyster
selections. But the menu wasn’t just oysters, though there were many to choose
from, divided into east and west coast varieties (more on that below).

We ordered a bottle of the 2008 Fritz’s Riesling from
Rheinhessen, Germany. It had nice flavors of peach and green apple, but ended up being a little too sweet as an accompaniment
to the meal – we had hoped for something crisper. Still easy
drinking, though. (Note: Forgive the grainy pictures here – we forgot our camera and had to use the iPhone, as well as take photos by candlelight!)

2008 Fritz riesling.

We started off with a dozen oysters. From the west coast:
two Eagle Rock from Puget Sound, Washington; two Kusshi, from Vancouver Island;
two Shibumi from Washington; and two Totten Inlet from Southern Puget Sound.
From the east coast: two Diamond Point from St. James River, Virginia and two
Tomahawk from Southampton, New York. The winner? Surprisingly, the Tomahawk,
with their rich, non-metallic flavor.

Then because oysters do not a dinner make, we shared the
steamers. While tasty, we realized it was the first time we’d eaten steamers
outside of summertime and away from the beach, which somewhat diminished their

But we were more than pleased with the whole grilled brook
trout served with arugula, fennel and salsa verde. The fish was perfectly
cooked with a fresh, meaty taste. We also ordered a side of sautéed spinach for
a little more greens with our seafood.

Though the service was slightly erratic, the Mermaid Oyster Bar redeemed itself by serving two complimentary
cups of rich chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream (along with those plastic “miracle fish” that bend or flip in your hands and predict your love life) – a nice end to a
meal sadly far from the beach and warm weather, but with a commendable
spirit of summer.

– by Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief


Winederlust Rating Details (out of 10):

Food: 7.5 (preparation, presentation & taste)
Wine: 7.0 (selection, recommendations, pairings & taste)
Service: 7.0 (helpfulness, attentiveness, knowledge & pacing)
Place: 8.0 (location, view, decor & vibe)

Price Range: $$-$$$ (Moderate to Pricey)


Essential Information: 

Mermaid Oyster Bar / 79 MacDougal St., New York [map]
Direct Line: (212) 260-0100
Monday-Thursday 5:30-11pm; Friday-Saturday 5:30-11:30pm; Sunday 5-10pm. Reservations suggested.

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