Mermaid Inn is a welcomed addition to the average slate of restaurants on the Upper West Side. If you're a fish fan, you'll love this place. A lively fish-themed atmosphere greets you right when you walk in. In the summertime, the garage-style doors are opened up to the sidewalk cafe, creating a comfortable space with cross ventilation. In the winter, you'll feel warm and cozy with the hues of black and brown on the wall. The menu is anything but boring. There's always fresh fish selection and yummy sides like French Fries w/Old Bay or grilled asparagus w/parmesan. Look out for the seasonal specials too. Hailing from Maryland, I opted for the summer special Maryland Crab Boil, complete with 5 steamed crabs, corn bread and corn on the cob. While it was a bit strange to be cracking the crabs open on a table other than a picnic table covered with newspapers, the crabs were still perfectly cooked and seasoned. The staff is very attentive and you even get your own (free) cup of Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream for dessert. While there's always a lively scene, I wouldn't take my kids here, unless, of course, they're fish lovers.
I really enjoyed this restaurant and thought the food tasted great. The reason I don't give them 5 stars is because the quantity was just rediculous. For $75 I expect a whole lot more than just 3 crab legs. . . . yes they were big, but Alaskan King Crab legs usually go for $50 and you get about 10. The lobster mac and cheese here is great; its very cheesy and there are big chunks of lobster inside so it's a real treat. The calamari is perfectly fried . . . the portions are basically the only thing holding this place back.
The three hour wait on a Friday or Saturday, is simply insane. However the coconut shrimp are to die for. The steampots are a bit pricy for a crab cut in two, five shrimp, two potatoes, and an ear of corn. The drinks are passable. waiters are friendly. But the highlight are the coconut shrimp. And the apricot/ginger dipping sauce just makes your taste-buds do the tango. The best I've tasted by far. Worth it!