Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recent Restaurant Notes: Grand Central Oyster Bar

My work often takes me to the historic Graybar Building, adjacent to Grand Central Station (also historic). While walking through the lower level food court, I realized I hadn't yet been to the *ahem* historic Grand Central Oyster Bar, which has been serving bipeds under its vaulted tile ceiling since 1913.

So I enticed my hubby to journey there a few Saturday afternoons ago for a briny snack. Keeping it simple, we ordered fried oysters appetizer and a raw oyster sampler. The fried oysters were delectable. Though the plate only contained four, each was large, plump and not too heavily breaded. The raw oyster sampler plate contained 4 different types with two clear winners: Kumamoto (the smallest hiding behind the cocktail sauce in the picture) and Totten Virginica (the largest, on the right). A quick chat with our waitress revealed that perhaps we just prefer West Coast Oysters. And she may be right -those two types were so far above the others in delivering a flavor burst. Though I'm not ready to write off our local East Coast shellfish quite yet. Perhaps after a few more trips and a few more platters.

Also, the Oyster Bar has a surprisingly enormous wine list -including lots of whites by the glass. I can endorse the Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc (sparkling) and the ZD Chardonnay. Yum.


dorothy said...

i used to work in the lincoln building, connected to grand central via underground tunnel. (random fact: my dad worked in the graybar building long ago too!). anyway, i didn't do it often enough, but a lunch of manhattan clam chowder at the counter used to be an occasional treat. the little old lady waitresses are just so new york. it's also very affordable for just a cup o f soup. and because i'm still one stop away on the 7, i still sometimes go in.

i also love a drink in the saloon before a train! and it's so amazing how you can get the exact same menu at the oyster bar, with the same prices, whether you're in the saloon, at the lunch counter, or in fancier restaurant area ...

actually, the area where you first walk in at the main entrance (and where you can also get a drink) is a *great* spot to meet out of town (especially international) guests who have flown in to the city. most buses drop off at grand central from the airport, and any new yorker in the area can tell you where the oyster bar is, so there's no fear of your guests getting lost or confused.

there's plenty of room for luggage if your guests have to wait for you. once you have a drink, you can all get in a cab, or on the subway, without having to deal with complicated directions or cell phone calls.

k8nyc said...

I work in the Chrylser Building, so the Oyster Bar is a natural stop for me -- even though I thoroughly detest oysters in any form! Their wine list is *oustanding and I'm always thrilled to find a Viognier by the glass. Their bloody marys are great, too, and if you like them super-spicy, it's easy to get some extra horseradish on the side.

My only complaint is that they have a bathroom attendant. I hate that.

Leslie said...

I so agree with you about the bathroom attendant. One of my restaurant pet peeves. I can pick out my own paper towel, thank you very much!