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Mary's Fish Camp

Mary’s Fish Camp

64 Charles St., New York, NY 10014

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March 15, 2010

We love a good girl fight, especially a lovers’ quarrel over our favorite aphrodisiacs – lobster rolls and oysters. We know this is old news, but apparently Pearl (of Pearl Oyster Bar) and Mary (of Mary’s & Brooklyn Fish Camp) used to get it on like Ellen and Portia. They ran Pearl’s together until something happened. We won’t speculate, as it’s none of our business, but it’s definitely possible someone looked at someone else the wrong way one night at Meow Mix. Whatever it was, it was bad enough to drive Mary out. She packed up her lobster pots and moved into her own place down the block. Bad news for Pearl – excellent news for the rest of us.

On this island, taking a break from the beach and rolling to the local clam bar in flip flops and a bathing suit doesn’t happen. While our concrete jungle does indeed have a few solid fish shacks and oyster bars (The Mermaid Inn, Luke’s Lobster), most come with a certain Manhattan spin that seems forced and rather lame (Ditch Plains, Lure Fishbar). Mary’s is the rare authentic feeling fish house around these parts. It could easily be transported to Montauk or Cape Cod and fit right in. The pale pink and blue decor, simplistic dishes and laid back attitude are what we expect from a place that only serves seafood. Sure, the prices are a bit high, but this is Manhattan- everything is expensive. Mary’s is always jammed, so go in expecting to put your name on the list and then grab a drink around the corner. They’re accurate on their wait time and will call you as soon as your table is ready. As far as we’re concerned, Mary’s is one of the best seafood jams in Manhattan. Get some.

Food Rundown:

Half Dozen Malpeque OystersOysters are a mandatory order at Mary’s.

New Zealand Cockles with White Beans and GarlicThe cockle broth is really freakin good, and they serve this dish to you with a huge side of bread for dunking.

Fried Oysters and Clams with Fish Camp Tartar SauceThese little nuggets of fried goodness are always a fun way to start off a meal. Mary’s tartar sauce is particularly good too.

Wild Maine Mussels with Red Curry and Fresh CorianderLast time we were there, these mussels were HUGE and quite flavorful. Mussels can generally be hit or miss, but Mary’s are usually pretty consistent. The red curry broth gives this bowl a nice kick.

Iceberg Lettuce Wedge with Buttermilk Dressing and Double Smoked Bacon Buttermilk dressing and double smoked bacon? Sold. Don’t waste an appetizer item here on a non-fish order. Instead, we recommend ordering this as a side as it’s better than the individual vegetables they serve as side dishes.

Spicy Florida Conch ChowderI love their conch chowder. It’s an excellent move on a cold night or for lunch.

Lobster RollMary is known for her beautiful, rich and incredibly tasty pink lobster rolls. Big chunks of lobster are served over a toasted hot dog bun with a huge side of fries. For those who don’t like a lot of mayo on a $25 roll, this is not for you. For those who do, you’ll agree that this is the best mayo-heavy lobster roll in the city.

Pan Fried Cod Sandwich with French FriesAnother one of Mary’s specialties, this beautifully fried cod filet is served on a sourdough roll with lettuce, tomato and a side of Mary’s flattened shoestring fries.

Emerald Basin Skate with Brussels Sprout LeavesA nice portion of skate drenched, in balsamic brown butter. This dish is incredibly tasty and rather filling. If you don’t like balsamic though, don’t order it. That flavor is a little overwhelming

DessertSince everyone around you is eating Mary’s ridiculous looking hot fudge sundae, it’s impossible to not order dessert. Both the traditional looking sundae and the banana pudding will finish off your meal just right.

Photo Credit: On The Inside

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