“I just wanted to write to tell you about the wonderful dining experience my wife and I had at the Blue Mermaid this past Saturday night. The food was tremendous as was the service! We started with the Spring Rolls and for dinner I had the Chicken Skewers and my wife had the Bimini Chicken, both of which were delicious. Our server, Becca, suggested an incredible dessert (Can’t recall the name, but it had fig and chocolate) and we loved it!
After dinner we headed downstairs to listen to some live music and to have a couple drinks. Your bartender did a great job of handling a pretty good size crowd on her own I didn’t wait long for a drink once the whole time we stayed. I can’t recall the name of the guy who was playing, but his band did a great job of not playing so loudly that you were blown out of the room. We were able to carry on our conversation while we listened, which was nice.
Having two children, the oldest being 2, we don’t get out much, so when we do, it’s a pretty special thing. Thank you for making our first night out in over 2 years a night to remember!”
Chris & Jen Chirco
Food star Rachael Ray films at the Blue Mermaid
Food Network headliner Rachael Ray was in Portsmouth Thursday, tasting some of the local cuisine and dining atmosphere of some local restaurants for an upcoming edition of “Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels.”
One of the Food Network’s biggest stars chose Portsmouth’s Blue Mermaid to highlight during an upcoming edition of “Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels.” read the full story from The Wire
The Blue Mermaid Island Grill, located on The Hill in the city’s downtown, will be featured on the Food Network as part of Rachael Ray’s “Tasty Travels.” That episode is scheduled to be broadcast Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. read the full story
The Blue Mermaid was recently featured in NH
To Do Magazine in an article titled “Playing It Cool”.
|Voted as one of the top restaurants on the Seacost (14th) and a runner up for best caterer by Taste Magazine||Chosen by New
Best Fusion Cuisine in 2003
and one of NH’s “Best Seafood Restaurants”
| Featured in TASTE Magazine as Portsmouth’s
“Best Kept Secret”
of the Favorite
Independent Restaurant Association
Ate” rating from the Phantom Gourmet
as Phantom’s favorite choice for Summertime Dining
Selected as a New
Hampshire Restaurant Neighbor Award winner by the National
Read some of our reviews:
can be found any time at the Blue Mermaid By Rachel Forrest
featured in the Portsmouth Herald
Gourmet: Blue Mermaid, a world culinary tour on NH Seacoast
featured in the Union Leader
“The Blue Mermaid is a Portsmouth favorite for its good food, good value, and refusal to take itself too seriously. A short stroll from Market Square, in a historic area called the Hill, it’s not pretentious — locals congregate here, Tom Waits drones on in the background, and the service is casual but professional. The menu is adventurous in a low-key global way — you might try lobster and shrimp pad Thai, Bimini chicken with walnuts and a bourbon-coconut sauce, or crispy duck with guava and andouille stuffing. Other items include seafood, burgers, pasta, and pizza from the wood grill, plus a fun cocktail menu (mojitos, Goombay smash, and a dozen different margaritas) and homemade fire-roasted salsa.”
“This is a quaint little bar on the Hill in Portsmouth. They offer an upstairs dinning area and a lowerlevel bar. It’s small. The bar can hold maybe 75 people, but if you can get in the food and the beer is great. They have all the local breweries on tap and a few of the more rare selections from the west coast. They have wonderful musical selections on the weekends and an interesting interior design. Very cozy…”
Jeff Spires, Dover, NH
Posted to www.pubcrawler.com
“Love the Blue Mermaid. The food is excellent. The atmosphere is decent. The margaritas are great!”
By A Yahoo! Contributer,
voted overall 5 stars
“Every time I have been to the Blue Mermaid the food has been excellent. Cooked to perfection, very tasty, and very creative. I don’t know what problems other reviewers have had, I can’t even imagine.
And if you want to try them out for a bargain, but the Entertainment Book and get a BOGO free coupon.
And definitely try a dessert! The tropical tiramisu is wonderful!”
By A Yahoo! Contributer, voted overall 5 stars
“We gave this restaurant a shot despite its reviews, we believe any great restaurant can have a bad day and shouldn’t be judged on one experience. We made the trek to Portsmouth without disappointment. The food, drink and service were great. I had the short ribs, the best thing I think I have ever put in my mouth. My wife had the plaintain encrusted grouper, which was also very good. The beer selection was one of the best I have seen around, filled with local and microbrewed beers. For dessert we shared the layers of love, a layered mousse cake thing, the second best thing I ever put in my mouth. While dining we noticed the staff joking around but also helping each other with their tables. You can tell that they enjoy working here which showed in our service. Our waitress was very friendly and outgoing not the typical robot service you often run into while dining out. Overall a great experience, give them a shot. ”
By A Yahoo! Contributer, voted overall 5 stars
Awesome margaritas and super food are why we keep coming back to this great Portsmouth restaurant for over five years now.
The lobster quesadilla and horny margaritas what we usually get. But there is lots more interesting stuff as well.
Check it out…bet you’ll keep going back too.”
Submitted to www.restaurantrow.com
“The best restaurant my wife and I have been to in the Portsmouth area. We come up to Portsmouth from Boston for a break and never expect great food, until we found the Blue Mermaid.
The menu is quite extensive and offers lots of different flavors. We had a lobster quesadilla to start, which was grilled, interesting and yummy variation of the mexican too cheesy stuff we are used to. My wife had the shrimp pad thai and I had the sea bass. Both we cooked perfectly.
Our server was really personable and answered our questions intelligently.
Overall, a top notch find. We told the manager on the way out that we wished they were in Boston, and he said they hear that all the time. It’s no wonder.”
Submitted to www.restaurantrow.com
“I’ve been to the Blue Mermaid both for the bar as well as for dinner, but never at the same time, and in a way not in the same place. The bar is downstairs–a very cozy place with an old chimney in the middle, with a small bar area in the front (just a few stools), then on the other side of the chimney are maybe ten tables and an area where musicians often play–without cover usually, I think. They have nice artwork–all Dan Blakeslee (local musician/artist) posters, I think, which give them place a unique feel. Upstairs, and in a much larger space, is the main dining area. It is brighter, more open, and less cozy… I much prefer the downstairs, but the food is excellent, and the sweet potato fries are not to be missed. Back downstairs, the beer selection is small, but very good, and rotates I believe. They often–if not always–have a few Moat Mountain beers, which I’ve only ever seen here and at the actual Moat Mountain brewpub. I think any of the Moat Mountain beers are excellent and well worth trying, but they usually have some other good options on tap, as well. The location is kind of neat–perched on the Hill on the edge of downtown, now behind the Hilton, but in a very neat old building, and the bar is usually lively and cozy… a nice departure from the main area of bars down the street. ”
Posted to beeradvocate.com by FrankLloydMike of Boston, Massachusetts who
rated it B+ / 3.9:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 – $$
“The Blue Mermaid is a restaurant on High Street at the intersection of Hanover, across Hanover from the public parking garage, and in a parking lot called “The Hill” for some reason.
First and foremost, this place is a restaurant, with dining downstairs and upstairs. Downstairs, just to the right when you enter, is the small bar area. The bar itself only seats 6 or 7 people, with a few more chairs and a small rail for drinks (probably 14 people could fit in there at one time). The bar area has a TV (20″), and windows look out towards Hanover St.
You can tell they care about beer here. Only 8 taps, but when I visited last, they had all local/regional micros on tap: Harpoon IPA, Moat Mountain Square Tail Stout, Tuckerman’s Pale Ale, Shipyard Pumpkinhead and Old Thumper, Smuttynose Robust Porter, and Buzzard Bay Lager. They were also offering 14 bottled beers, which included some nice ones such as a Lindeman’s lambic and one Unibroue. Mixed drinks and wine are also served.
The atmosphere was comfortable and cozy, and the staff was very friendly and paid attention to detail. Free chips and very tasty home made salsa were offered to go with my beer. It may have helped that I did not visit on an extremely busy night. The meals looked and smelled very good (from what I observed of my neighbor’s order).
A comfortable place to have a pint especially if you don’t feel like going to a more traditional bar or pub.”
Posted to beeradvocate.com by
UncleJimbo of Andover, Massachusetts who rated it
A- / 4.1:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
“Stopped in for a Red Rogue on tap and stayed for a couple pints. It was indeed yummy. Getting crowded at the bar now that summer is upon us. But the food is still good and the selection is great.
Formally known as The Codfish, this establishment is located across from the main parking garage. The bar itself only sports maybe 8 stools while the restaurant itself is quite spacious. The beer selection on tap is predominately local, including the Big A from smuttynose. Lot of locals in here, the tourists have not yet discovered the bar. The food is “wood” grilled, sort of polynesian and quite good. Agreat place to throw a few back with a date, being quite a quiet place. ”
Posted to beeradvocate.com by
bewareOFpenguin of Massachusetts who rated it
A / 4.3:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
“Whatever your budget or dietary pleasure, Portsmouth has a restaurant for you. I have not been to every bistro on the block, but I can recommend the Blue Mermaid without reservation. They make a mean pad thai and be sure to try their tumbleweeds – little fried onions smothered in a spicy batter. They serve up an impressive assortment of drinks, too, each topped with a lil’ plastic mermaid. If it is nice out, try to get a table on their deck because the local restaurant review show, The Phantom Gourmet rates it among the best in outdoor dining in New England, and believe me, the phantom doesn’t lie.”
Posted to www.epinions.com by
“Whether it is chicken or shrimp, steak or ribs, chowder or pasta, the Blue Mermaid World Grill has your number. The varied menu selection’s range from southwestern Tex-Mex to East Coast grill. Across the board, entrees are well- prepared and attractively served. The dcor is Southwest American, the dress is casual and the crowd is of the family persuasion. Lots of seats offer a courtyard view and weather permitting, outdoor dining is available. Well- received at the Blue Mermaid are the smoked scallop chowder, North meets West pizza and any of the wood-grilled seafood. Yes, you heard me right, a wood grill. Burgers, steak and seafood are carefully cooked just the way you like ‘em on a real wood-burning grill. It’s worth a visit just so you can taste the difference it makes. Among the myriad awards given to honor the Blue Mermaid are best burger, best ethnic food, favorite restaurant and best wood-grilled seafood. Patrons can also be overheard praising their selection of 12 margarita varieties. But, if you want to know what everyone is talking about you’ll have to go yourself. TIP: The pleasing atmosphere of the Blue Mermaid is enhanced on the weekends with live entertainment. Call ahead for details or go to the web site and subscribe to their entertainment newsletter.”
Posted to www.cityguide.com by Carl Salminen, 4 stars
“A unique menu and accomodating staff. They recently updated the menu, too. Complimentary tortilla chips and salsa at the table, instead of the traditional bread and butter. Fresh seafood, chicken, and steak. But this is no bar and grill. Its a caribbean adventure. Check out their website to see the menu. The price’s aren’t bad and it’s worth seeking out. Portions are not huge, which is just fine for the great blend of flavors and spices. I highly recommend the chicken screwers and the chai tea.”
Posted to www.dinesite.com by
“The food here was great, very flavorful, and unique. I got the polenta cakes which were smokey and rich, and I substituted both sides that were supposed to come with it and got the sweet potato hash and grilled banana instead. Yum. My husband was not as impressed–he got the beef medalions and thought they were fatty and not cooked the way he asked (medium well), but he’s a meat and potatoes guy in general, so props to him for trying the place out.
My margarita was yummy, and the appetizer (Jamaican beef patties) were just OK…very small amount for the price and not packed with flavor. The atmosphere was nice, and as a cool side note, Rachael Ray stopped there earlier this year to film a segment for one of her upcoming shows.”
Posted to www.tripadvisor.com by
AlexWP7 with a rating of 4 out of 5
“Who would have guessed that Al would choose a Caribbean grill for dinner? Certainly not me but since I had seen the menu online and though it had some real possibilities I wasn’t about to second guess him. And if Rachael Ray though it was worth a visit with her crew 2 weeks ago, who am I to say ney.
There is a parking garage on Hanover and High Street where you can park for 75 cents an hour or there is a parking lot near the Hills which if it is Sunday will probably have space. If you happen to be staying at the Hilton Garden Inn you will be almost next door.
At the Blue Mermaid you can choose to eat in the lounge, out on the deck, or in the upstairs dining room. We opted for the dining room. There was only one large party up there when we arrived. Our waitress Jennifer was quick to seat us and bring us our drink orders. I had a Tini Bikini Martini, vanilla vodka (it didn’t say Stoli) triple sec, Malibu rum, and pineapple juice. It was a very good martini with the coconut coming out as the dominant flavor and not at all sweet. Al had a Miller lite.
We decided to start with calamari, though if it was up to me I would have had the mussels with curry sauce but Al doesn’t like mussels, so squid it is. Very good squid too, with a thicker than normal crust, tender calamari, and a tomato ancho mayonnaise for dipping. The coating was very peppery. A real tongue tingler.
I decided to have the jerk rub pork tenderloin served with smashed sweet potatoes, mango chutney, and grilled green beans. Al had the Mahi Mahi wood grilled with cilantro adobo and his choice of two sides. He chose sticky herb potatoes and a small garden salad which had a lemon pepper vinaigrette dressing.
The food was outstanding. Everything about it was wonderful. I have not one thing I would do different. It was just delicious.
We decided to split a dessert and we chose a new one on the menu, the El Diablo. It is chocolate ice-cream with spice in it, topped with walnuts and white and dark chocolate fudge. It was huge I don’t recommend that you eat this alone, you will explode. It was just about too much for the two of us to manage. A very unusual sensation, every so often a blast of heat would hit your mouth right in the middle of decedent chocolate.
Service was exceptional and I would certainly love to try out some of their other dishes. Check out their website menu to get an idea of all the other fabulous meal choices that are available or catch Rachael Ray in August when her Portsmouth Show should air.. ”
Posted to www.iexplore.com Travel Reviews by
Yva and Mr. Schefer were in Portsmouth, New Hampshire recently. It was dinnertime and we weere hungry. Looking out our hotel window we saw a restaurant which looked promising: Blue Mermaid Island Grill.
We looked it up on the internet and the menu sounded rather exciting. It was seafood with a Caribbean flair, involving fruits and spiciness. Not your typical New England seafood, but interesting nonetheless. Oh but there was one small issue that sent up a flag of warning: the restaurant was one of “Rachel Ray’s Pick(s).” The approval of Rachel Ray alone does not condemn a restaurant to hell and damnation, but it certainly inspires caution in Yva who is heavily influenced by Anthony Bourdain and has a deep dislike for the terms “sammy” and “EVOO” and similar cutsieness when it comes to food. Nonetheless, we decided to give it a try.
As soon as we entered, we were met by the most friendly and energetic man we have ever encountered. We have no idea who he was, but he was quite gregarious, helpful, and unendingly patient while we decided whether to eat upstairs in the dining room or downstairs in the lounge. We chose the lounge and were seated immediately. The lounge was a friendly and comfortable room: pumpkin orange walls, yellow accents, and a turquoise ceiling. There were fun little accents, like a retro-appearing light fixture and a fireplace bar which gave the restaurant a sense of fun.
We were seated by the window and could look out onto the deck. Our server, Julie, came over and chatted with us a few minutes about the menu and beverages. Mr. Schefer enjoys Guinness, but that was not on their menu. This was certainly not a fault by any means, as their beer menu was quite extensive. He chose a Miller Lite and Yva ordered a “Mermaid Madness” which consists of Silver rum, Malibu , o.j., pineapple, cranberry and a Meyer’s float. As a result of her conversations about beer with Mr. Schefer, when Julie returned she brought him a large sample of one of the other beers available on tap. This was not the last sample she brought, and we truly appreciated her assistance and the Blue Mermaid’s generosity in helping Mr. Schefer to explore other beers. Yva loved her Mermaid Madness; it was one of those fruity can’t-taste-the-alcohol drinks that kind of sneaks up on you after one…or three. Whew. We managed to select a starter, and ordered the calamari.
While we waited for the calamari, we were presented with tortilla chips and the Mermaid’s fire roasted salsa, which apparently has some fame. This fame is for good reason. It was not the typical red soupy salsa one usually consumes, but a darker, almost brown salsa, with a rich earthy tang, and a heat that slowly accumulated the more you ate. It was very good, and we took great joy in scooping copious amounts of it into our mouths while we waited for the calamari. When the calamari arrived we were first impressed by the size of the serving; it was a lot of calamari, more than we were accustomed to. That is not a complaint by any means. Accompanied by tomato ancho mayonnaise for dipping, we dug right into the hot pile of calamari, which were tender and tasted like the ocean. They were very fresh and well-prepared, and the mayonnaise was a very nice addition, enhancing the flavor of the calamari and accompanying the calamari’s crispness with a lovely creaminess.
The Blue Mermaid’s entrees were all very tempting. They offer things for everyone, even if you don’t like food from the sea or meat. It was difficult to decide what we wanted, and that also created an excuse for a return trip. The Blue Mermaid has a wood fired oven, and one part of their menu allows you to pick a meat to be cooked in that oven, as well as a sauce for the meat and two sides from an array of choices (grilled banana, smashed sweet potatoes, sautéed green beans, corn bread, sweet potato fries, chipotle curry rice, green salad, chipotle pepper mash). Yva chose this option, going for sea scallops with a grilled mango vinaigrette accompanied by grilled bananas and cornbread. Jamie ordered from the lighter side of the menu, choosing a bowl of lobster and roasted corn chowder with a side of cornbread. We were still working on the calamari when Julie came by and told us our entrees were ready a little faster than anticipated, and did we want them then or to wait until we finished the calamari? The kitchen timing might have been off (or maybe we were just eating slower than w should have), but that’s a mark of excellent service, to let us know the situation and give us a choice instead of just putting the food under a heat lamp or forcing it upon us when we aren’t ready. Blue Mermaid and Julie get high marks for that.
After years of being served skimpy portions of scallops, it was a pleasant surprise to have two skewers containing nine large scallops. So the serving was generous, but how were the scallops? Magnificent. They were tender, had a fresh ocean taste, and there was a sweetness around the edges where the heat of the oven had caramelized them. The mango vinaigrette was a perfect accompaniment, with a full flavor that was sweet but not overwhelming. The grilled bananas was just that: half a banana that had been cut lengthwise and grilled. It was quite good. The banana was not mushy by any means, and also had a sprinkling of fresh diced fruit on top of it. Fruit and seafood? I could live on these things. The cornbread was light, and we could see it was made at least partly with a coarse grained cornmeal, with large flecks of yellow throughout, and lightly browned edges. Usually a restaurant will provide butter with the cornbread, but Blue Mermaid did not and it was not necessary. The cornbread was perfect. Yva ate every bit of her meal, save for a bit of cornbread which she took back to the hotel room.
When one imagines chowder, it’s usually a bit on the heavy side with a milk or cream base. The lobster and roasted corn chowder at Blue Mermaid is a bit on the lighter side. There was a bit of separation, with the creamy portion settled a bit on the bottom, but that was easily corrected by a bit of stirring. And we were glad we stirred because at the bottom of the bowl we encountered several large pieces of lobster. It was like discovering almost a complete tail and claw in the chowder; as with the scallops, there was no skimping on this dish either. The chowder itself tasted light, but still rich and creamy. The corn was not an overwhelming ingredient, but in perfect balance with the lobster. The corn had a slight nutty flavor to it, which worked wonderfully with the richness of the lobster. Mr. Schefer enjoyed his cornbread, and felt that with the chowder it made a perfect dinner entree.
We were quite full after eating all this wonderful food, which was unfortunate because Blue Mermaid has a very tempting dessert menu, including a coconut cake with lime curd filling and lime frosting. Yet another excuse for a return trip.
Would we return? Absolutely. In fact, we would go out on a limb and state that it would be worth the drive alone just to eat there. The food, service, and atmosphere were just incredible. The Blue Mermaid Island Grill will make your mouth, stomach, and heart happy.
See the full review and photographs at http://www.noshvermont.com/post/33438569/road-trip-blue-mermaid-island-grill-portsmouth-nh