Mermaid Oyster Bar

Published On 11/09/2009 Published On 11/09/2009

Over-the-top sequels can be less than satisfying: Jaws 2's higher body count actually lessened the terrifying suspense of the original, and adding De Niro to Pacino relegated The Godfather: Part II to only the 32nd best movie of all time. For a follow-up going the other direction and becoming more laid back, Mermaid Oyster Bar.

From the prolific team behind the Mermaid Inns, MOB's a chilled-out little brother with a menu designed to "read like an oyster bar's greatest hits", beaching up the old Smith's space with white-washed walls, exposed brick & pipes, weathered beach-shack wood, and a wrap-around banquette that runs the length of the dining room wall; the playlist contributes a "rock-country" vibe, so your mouth and ears can both enjoy delicious Rock Lobster. The eponymous mollusk shows up in 16 different varieties, including mainstreams like Beausoleil, Blue Point, and Wellfleet, plus deeper cuts such as the melon-y Nootka Sound from WA, the chewy/oceanic Mystic from CT, Cali's sweet & smoky Hog Island, and a densely creamy piece called the Wild Fire there's any other kind. Mains get down to the tune of soft tacos (fish/shrimp/chorizo), grilled fish from swordfish to trout, and classics including fried clam strips, fra diavolo w/ crab and rock shrimp, a lobster sandwich on a griddled bun, and mussels roasted with shallots/garlic/harissa, who, in a couple years, will stop explaining it all to take a bigger gig as Habrina the Teenage 'Wich.

Washing it all down're a mix of appropriate drafts and bottles like Sixpoint Otis Oatmeal Stout, plus classic cocktails like the 20,000 Leagues, a mix of vermouth, Pernod, and gin from Wisconsin called Death's Door -- exactly where you'll find Pacino 'n De Niro once they decide to Righteously Kill their careers with a another sequel.

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1. Mermaid Oyster Bar 79 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

The Greenwich Village outpost of the Mermaid restaurants is like a chilled-out little brother to its older (and larger) East Village and Upper West Side siblings. The menu features a daily array of East and West Coast oysters, a raw bar that includes littleneck clams and yellowfin tuna crudo, and house hits like beer batter fish tacos and a reliable lobster roll. The long and narrow space includes a bar and outdoor seating.