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.
Everything about Luke's Lobster is appealing. Even though the UWS location is very small, they've managed to decorate the space so that you literally feel like you're eating in one of those lobster shack on a pier off the coast of Maine. The menu is limited in that the main dishes are simply fresh Lobster Rolls, Crab Rolls and Shrimp Rolls. You can get simple sides like chowder, crab claws and kettle chips and bottles of Maine-brewed beer too. The rolls are the real deal - buttered and toasted New England-style split top bun w/ a swipe of mayo. The Lobster Roll is ALL FRESH LOBSTER MEAT. There's no imitation meat in this restaurant and nd, that's why you'll feel like you're paying a lot of money for something that takes only 4-5 bites to finish. But, I have eaten rolls that cost $32 dollars or more so, these are bargains. This spot is perfect for a quick, a la carte sandwich for lunch or for a bite on your way out to a concert. There's minimal seating so, plan accordingly.
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.