Oysters tend to be extremely expensive. The little, delectable raw treats hit the spot every time, especially on a beautiful summer day. Luckily, the brilliant people at The Mermaid Inn came up with the concept of Oyster Happy Hour. From 5-7pm, East Coast Oysters cost $1 instead of the usual $2.75, and West Coast are $1.75 instead of $3.50. It’s the ultimate bargain. Pair the oysters with reasonably priced drinks and other delicious bar snacks, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a deal.
I made my way further uptown to Mermaid Inn on the ultimate spring day. I requested to sit outside, hoping to make the most out of the day and environment.
The waiter brought over a tin filled with crisp everything chips and a little ramiken of butter. Without a moment’s hesitation, I quickly ordered six east coast oysters and a glass of champagne on the side. After all, it is my birthday week; celebrations are in order. But I think this is totally acceptable to do, birthday or not.
The oysters and champagne arrived simultaneously, only moments after having been ordered. Each of the oysters are freshly shucked with the juices surrounding the protein in the glistening half shell.
These Virginia oysters were sweet and briny, paired with pickled onions, cocktail sauce and fresh lemon. I enjoy my oysters with a little bit of each, a squirt of lemon, dash of vinegar, and mini scoop of cocktail sauce. Then slurp. Right out of the shell and into my mouth. A sip of champagne in between and you have the ultimate recipe for success.
After the half-dozen oysters were devoured, I realized that just having a few for dinner would hardly suffice. I turned my attention to the other options on the happy hour menu. I wanted to steer away from anything deep fried, like the fritto misto or overly decadent like crab sliders. Ultimately, I decided to try the Mermaid Fish Taco.
It’s a simple little taco bursting with flavor. The exterior of the taco was light and golden brown, looking as if it came straight out of the fryer without having any greasy tendencies. The chipotle mayo added a spiciness to the blackened, smokey fish. The topping of watercress rounds out the dish with a freshness. The texture and flavor from the taco is totally spot on. It’s a great little bit for the right price.
I ended the meal with three more oysters, just because. They were as sweet and delicious as the first batch, ending the meal on a great note. After I asked for the check, the waiter brought over a little chocolate pudding and fortune fish.
The creamy, rich chocolate pudding ends the meal on a a sweet, unexpected note. It’s a really nice little gesture, and the dessert is delightful.
All in all, nine oysters, a fish taco, a glass of champagne and complimentary mini chocolate pudding, amounted to a bill for $18, before tax and tip. Talk about a deal. After 7pm, the bill would have been at least double for the exact same amount of food. The waitstaff was kind and attentive, even with my low bill, they weren’t rushing me out of my seat. It’s a classy establishment that attracts people from all financial backgrounds. The seafood is of the highest quality and consistent. I will most definitely be back for yet another Oyster Happy Hour. Because like their website says, it’s the Happiest Two Hours.
The Mermaid Inn – 568 Amsterdam Avenue – New York, NY
(Alternative location – 96 Second Avenue – East Village, NY)
The Mermaid Inn
Location: Upper West Side, NY
Type: Seafood, American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Quality Seafood, Happy Hour, Casual Meal, Outdoor Seating
Reservations: Available via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Oysters, Fish Tacos