March 16, 2011

The Mermaid Oyster Bar

79 MacDougal St.
New York, NY 10012

Last weekend was date night for me and the Mrs., so we headed into The Village to one of our favorite little restaurants, The Mermaid Oyster Bar. It's not an overly stuffy establishment but certainly a little classier than the bars and pubs we usually write about. It was voted "Best New Seafood Restaurant" by Time Out New York Magazine last year after all. However, they do have excellent happy hour specials and the staff is not afraid to promote them. Oysters, lobster sliders, shrimp corndogs, fish tacos and, of course, lollipop chicken wings. We were in the mood to pick at a bunch of finger foods, so I did my civic duty and asked for the wings.

These were by far the "fanciest" wings I've had so far. The meat is pulled mostly off the bone towards the shoulder of the wing, giving it the appearance of a lollipop. As you can see, they were served meat down and bone up, not unlike the way you typically see lamb chops served. In the center of the plate was a celery and cucumber salad, which I thought was an interesting take on the common celery side. There was also chunks of bleu cheese distributed around the plate. Bonus points for presentation.

The bunched up meat made the wing super neat and extremely easy to eat (no Trongs necessary for these guys). The sauce was based off the traditional blend but had a really nice amount of sneaky heat. I'd go so far as to call it a creeper sauce. I really loved the bleu cheese. It added a great burst of flavor that was a little more concentrated than what you get from dipping in dressing. The only real problem I had was, due to the meat being all bunched up, they were a tad undercooked. I don't know if it was a one time thing or if that's the norm but all the other food is cooked perfectly so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. We're dealing with chicken here though and most people are smart enough to avoid pushing your luck with undercooked poultry. I, however, am not one of those people and I decided to forge ahead... stay the course. It's due in part to my unbridled love of food, part due to my extreme hatred for wasting food but mostly due to the vow I took to uphold the code of The Wingmen. I have a duty to carry out. An obligation to the people. So, I finished the entire plate and I'm happy to report that my stomach did just fine.

We've been here a couple times now and absolutely love the place. It's cozy, has great food, super friendly service and incredible happy hour specials 7 days a week. Plus, they finish off each meal with a little sweet surprise. I can highly recommend it... even the lollipop wings. Just order extra oysters as a backup, just incase.

[Side note: while writing this review and poking around online, looking for the address and whatnot, I found out that Zach Braff is an investor in Mermaid Oyster Bar. The Chef, Laurence Edelman, is his high school friend.]

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