Two slices meatloaf, ezekiel english muffin, babybell cheese, marinara sauce, toaster oven...oh, baby! Considerations for three nights in a row have entered my mind but I just can't bring myself to tripple play the meatloaf. For me eating something similar two nights in a row is pushing it, but I couldn't dismiss the daydreams of this sammy. (do you daydream of food?)
Glorious. Saturday's supper perhaps.
Do you have a tried-and-true restaurant? An establishment consistently delivering on taste, price and service in turn capturing your loyalty? The Blue Mermaid is my true blue.
My most recent visit to the Blue Mermaid marked a very momentous occasion. The meet and greet of my mom and Matt's mom! After much debate on where to allow this "laissez faire" dinner to occur and resistance on my part to go to the Blue Mermaid again (Matt and I seriously go there on the reg) I came to my senses and realized, "What better place to bring my family and Matt's together but our favorite place," (the same realization that goes down in the My Idea Windows 7 commercials when ordinary people think of something fabulous before the geniuses at Microsoft).
Located in the Hill, an historic area of Portsmouth, the Blue Mermaid could possibly get overlooked, as it is not the center of attention downtown. Which explains TASTE Magazine coining it "Portsmouth's Best Kept Secret." Caribbean inspired, the Blue Mermaid is brightly adorned with inspiring photographs and eclectic decor. The Mermaid's passion for delivering high flavor and unique festive food is apparent in every item that reaches the table starting with the warm tri-colored tortilla chips and homemade salsa. The service is always exceptional, informative and friendly and that salsa, did I already mention the fire roasted, award winning salsa?
My boyfriend "knows what he likes and what he likes to do" (his words) so he tends to order the same drink, appetizer and entree at the Blue Mermaid every time. No judgement, his lineup is stellar defined. I usually order some variation of the margarita or sangria. The picture below showcases the Painkiller and a Patron Silver marg.
The Painkiller Light & dark rum, pineapple juice, oj, and coconut with fresh nutmeg (right) Patron Silver Patron silver tequila, Cointreau, a splash of sour, splash of lime, float of Grand Marnier (left)
The Crispy Calamari served with a tomato roasted poblano aioli dipping sauce gets the party started every time.
The calamari at the Mermaid is without exception, amazing. Nailing the two integral factors perfectly: lightly crispy on the outside, deliciously fresh on the inside.
Let's jump in the trust tree for a minute or two. The real reason Matt and I continually come back to the Blue Mermaid is for the Braised Short Ribs. These "fall off the bone" ribs really and truly fall off the bone but land softly in the decadent sauce sent from Caribbean heaven. Moderately rich but full of flavor, I could eat spoonfulls of this sauce all night.
If food by sea is more your preference, the selection of fish entrees is vast and irresistible. Wood grilled salmon, shrimp, scallops or mahi-mahi to be paired with your choice of two sides and sauce. The possibilities are endless; salmon with roasted corn red pepper salsa, jalepeno pesto or chipotle honey glaze. Shrimp with sunsplash salsa, grilled mango vinaigrette or mango chutney. Aside from the talented wood grilled selections, other Mermaid specialities include but are not limited to: Pan Blackened Mahi-Mahi served over couscous and a black bean and corn roasted waffle topped with mango napa cabbage and chili slaw; Seafood Tagine: Salmon, cod and mahi mahi sautéed with curried tomatoes, onions and peppers in a rich coconut fish stew, served with foccacia and a side salad (pictured below right) and Bimini Chicken Pan roasted boneless breast of chicken sautéed with bananas and walnuts in a bourbon coconut sauce, served with chef’s vegetable and sweet potato hash.
The entree on the left is a special that peaked my interest. Blackened salmon with an avocado cream sauce (on the side), baby bok choy and roasted red peppers with roasted poblano mashed potatoes. Special indeed.
With numerous visits over the past four years, I have tasted a plethora of delicious items: Lobster and Roasted Corn chowder; Steamed PEI Mussels sauteed in fire roasted tomatoes, white wine, garlic and herbs; grilled bananas; corn bread; Mermaid Mac and Cheese, Saddle Bags, crispy wontons filled with chicken, jack cheese, herbs and spices, served with a ginger soy sauce....to be continued.
The Blue Mermaid will always be my favorite restaurant in Portsmouth but now the food and memories hold a more distinct place in my heart. Food really brings people together and at its essence is the shared flavors of communities and relationships. Over the years, the Blue Mermaid has united new couples, old friends and now families.
If food is love, the Blue Mermaid is Aphrodite.