Best new seafood: Mermaid Oyster Bar

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OTHER NOMINEES Ed's Chowder House, Fulton, Oceana

Some foodstuffs are best savored simply; we count seafood among them. Apparently, you do too. The no-frills Mermaid Oyster Bar, an elegant replica of a New England fish shack, sources pristine sea-dwelling ingredients, and chef Laurence Edelman does just what's required to let them shine—no more, no less. A grilled whole Idaho trout with lemon slices and herbaceous salsa verde is clean and meaty, while chewy fried clam strips spritzed with lemon are mercifully basic. Then, of course, there are the oysters, comprising a multitude of North American selections from the West Coast, East Coast and Canada: We eat those raw. The Mermaid Oyster Bar 79 MacDougal St between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (212-260-0100)

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