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Adventures in Shilling #035: Mermaid Inn, Oko, Yelp, and Mercadito Cantina

New, 19 comments

It's time for another edition of Adventures in Shilling, in which we fight shilling the best way we can, by shaming tasteless, unscrupulous shills into submission. Well, that's the plan, at least. Fight shills yourself by dropping offensive links to

Another week, another group of shills. This time the majority come from our own comment threads and have been rooted out by our ever vigilant readers. Let's get to the offenders:

This comment touting Yelp is a tad suspect in contrast to all the others on the thread calling the website "an atrocity," but perhaps we're just paranoid due to the topic of the post: "YeLP is great, it's the best way to get the true story on a restaurant or other business. It's about time the average person had a way to spread the word about an excellent place or one that is not so hot!"
Shill Probability: 32%

The following comment could be an innocent fro-yo fanatic in love with Oko, but the exclamation points, the eco-friendly nonsense, and the name checks of competitors give them away: "...We ordered their special flavor - key lime - with crushed graham crackers. It was SO delicious. Thankfully we ordered the large because we finished it in minutes. We can't wait to go back again. And the fact that they are eco-friendly is a plus too! Highly recommended! Way better than Pink Berry, Red Mango and those other places!"
Shill Probability: 65%

This next commenter is just a tad too excited about the size and the price of a Mermaid Inn lobster slider: "Had a quick bite last Monday at the mermaid inn, they ran a slider special with a grilled shrimp slider, crab cake slider, and their lobster roll slider. I could have had just the lobster slider and been ok. The sliders were bigger than I expected. DefinItely best lobster slider I have had in NYC. Great indication of what to expect from the full size version! I noticed in looking at the prices, that the mermaid inn is a lot less expensive than the other top rolls. mermaid inn seems like the best value to me."
Shill Probability: 78%

Any user review, like this one for Mercadito Cantina, that begins with the following line is a straight up shill: "This place is the perfect joint for a girl's night out! The space is a little tight, but it is organized so well you don't really notice and the patrons are happy to be there so the vibe is relaxed and friendly. The drinks are unique and tasty...almost a meal unto themselves. They even have their own infused Tric-Quila (tm) that would stand out in any taste-off. Brilliant. It is obvious a lot of care has gone into every aspect of the menu as well as the environment. The staff is more than happy to explain everything and they genuinely seem invested in your experience. When the food arrives, as the waitperson will warn, it looks a little... well... small, but each bite is so savory we found ourselves absolutely stuffed by the end of the meal. Everything we tried was a perfect balance. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for something different than the average bar."
Shill Probability: 97%

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