Restaurants: The Mermaid Inn

      Due to some unseasonably warm weather in New York this week, restaurants are keeping their patios open through the end of the month, which is always excellent news for me. At seven o'clock on Sunday night, it was still 80 degrees out, which gave me a chance to catch up with a couple of good friends from Bar Boulud. We decided to hit up the East Village institution known as the Mermaid Inn. I had heard great things, but never had a chance to go.

Abby and I both decided on the fish tacos, while Angie chose the squash soup and the grilled romaine salad. The fish tacos were wonderful -- the tilapia was crispy but still moist inside, and the cabbage slaw that it was served with was spicy without overwhelming the fish. I also tried a little of Angie's salad, which was fresh and lemony, with just a hint of anchovy. We sat in their back patio, which is much quieter than the sidewalk seating in front, and is festooned with lights and bordered by trees. We all felt like we had escaped New York for a little while.

The meal ended as they all do at the Mermaid Inn, with tiny cups of complimentary chocolate pudding and a fortune-telling fish. My fish told me that I'm "passionate" (which is certainly true about food). I'm hoping to go back before the weather changes and check out their excellent happy hour ($1 oysters! fried calamari! Aperol spritz!), but I don't make it before that, they also have a charming bar.