010508mermaidinn.jpgThe mice at The Mermaid Inn’s East Village location picked a mischievous moment to scurry out into the dining room a few nights ago – as luck would have it a writer for Time Out New York was there waiting for a table! The immodest mice must have been looking for their 15 minutes of fame, because they timed their appearance perfectly with TONY staffer Jordana Rothman’s emergence from the bathroom.

As she made her way to the front of the house where her friends were waiting, Rothman witnessed the “plague-carrying rodents as they merrily skipped into the dining room, pausing on someone’s shoe.” We spoke with the general manager by phone, who confirmed the sightings, saying that it “shakes your world” and that two extermination companies had since inspected the restaurant and found no problem “except for being located in New York City.”

Nevertheless, The Mermaid Inn (East Village) will be closed this weekend for renovations and some “structural changes to seal up an area” the mice may have used as a portal; the restaurant will open again on Tuesday. While hardly a rat rodeo, there’s always something a little unappetizing about vermin, isn’t there? Back before the turn of the century, a mouse once crawled over our shoe while we ate at the now-closed Comfort Diner on 86th Street. What rodent run-ins have you weathered at a New York restaurant?