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Jan 25, 2000 09:33 PM

I tried, but I HATE OYSTERS! Is there hope....

  • k

My boyfriend is accompanying me to Manhattan in March to attend a conference. Mind you, we've never been, and we live far, far away in a very sheltered environment. (A bit of tongue in cheek here...but we are very, very excited!) Anyway, he loves oysters and recently prepared some for me in the hopes that I would finally see the light about oysters. I almost gagged.

Lately he's been reading my travel guides and out of the blue, said let's have dinner at the Oyster Bar. Rolling my eyes, I asked, "WHAT oyster bar??" Well, the one in Grand Central....of course.

Well, I've read their menu on-line and concede that there may be some other options.... Can anyone recommend a nice entree there? I love crab, lobster and swordfish.

Also, is the view from "The View" at the Marriot Marquis really the only good thing about that restaurant? That's where we're staying. Thank you!

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  1. I like the clam chowder (new england style) at the Oyster Bar and there's lot's to see and do and eat in GCT (Grand Central Terminal... it's been written about quite a bit on these boards and on the site.

    Where are you from, oh sheltered one, now us NYers gotta know!

    Also the revolving bar at the MM (Mariott Marquis) hotel is a good kitschey place to have a cocktail.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Jessica S.

      I'm from northern Minnesota. Yes, I did some searching of the site before I posed my question. I was amused by someone's comment about the ridiculousness of confused tourists studying the Oyster Bar menu at length, and then ordering a non-oyster item. I smiled, because as I mentioned, I hate oysters! I like chowder though... thanks for the tip.

      I read another thread about priciness of the restaurant. I think I can deal with the price since I'm looking at the whole experience, not only the food.

      Yes, we'll definately have a cocktail at revolving bar. It's a novelty in and of itself for us first timers....

      1. re: Kathy

        there are far better places to have oysters and other seafood in NY than the Oyster bar....look for other strings on here...there are some good posts.....

        1. re: michael

          Since we wanted to go to the terminal anyway, we thought we'd kill two birds with one stone... Now, I just would like recommendations on what else is really, really good at the Oyster Bar. Any others?

          1. re: Kathy

            It's been a while since I was there, but what was memorable for me was the seafood salad: a delicious heap of fresh seafood in a vinaigrette dressing.

            1. re: efdee

              There are so many many great places to eat that I'd suggest you do this - go to the Oyster Bar for the first course of a progressive dinner - your companion can have his oysters, you can try something else, then move on to another spot in town that would have more appealing choices for you for an entree. Then, dessert someplace else. It's a good way to sample the food in more places than you might otherwise fit in on a short trip. Have a great time and post when you get home to let us know where you ate!

              1. re: Barbara S

                You've had some good response on this, let me add a bit more. The Oyster Bar is probably over priced for most of it's food, but the oyster selection and quality is excellent. It's certainly overpriced for it's decor and ambience. The chowder is probably good and I suspect the oyster stew as well, but there are only two things that draw me to the place. That's the raw oysters and the fresh young herring imported from Holland every May. It was a Dutch friend of my wife's who introduced us to that herring several years ago and we haven't missed a season yet.

                You mentioned wanting to see Grand Central. The approach to the Oyster bar has been opened up and improved and the whole place should make a New Yorker proud these days, although it makes me twice as sad that they tore down Penn Station. Anyway, the place to view and experience the main space may be the new restaurant that opened on the east balcony - Metrazur. I haven't been there yet and can't speak about the food, but I've looked at the space and the view and they're terrific. They have a raw bar, they'll serve you dinner on one side or you can graze on the other side on a selection of what they call "lounge plates."

                Maybe some oysters and chowder at the Oyster Bar and some more nibbles at Metrazur might make it an evening.

                1. re: Bux

                  I stopped at Métrazur for some grazing on Tues nite. The view: try to get a table at the edge of the space, so you can overlook the actual station, otherwise, yes, you have the beautiful ceiling and the sense of openness, but you can't really see anything of the terminal.
                  The lounge plates: you choose 3 of 7 or so dishes for $18. I found the portions (not unexpectedly) to be less than generous. Food was good enough but not fabulous. I found it overpriced for what it was.
                  Desserts: We tried the Gingered Pear Crisp and the Apple Tarte Tatin, both with a bit of ice cream on top --wow!! I would definitely go again for these. Portions were ample, they were definitely on the sweet side, but did have more than that one note, textures varied and interesting.

                  Although I am curious about the full dinners and will probably get around to trying them on Métrazur's other side at some point, I would definitely return for dessert and cappucino at the end of an evening.

                  1. re: Barb. H.

                    I can't comment on the quality of the food, but for six bucks a plate I wouldn't expect a very large portion ot what seem like tapas. I suspect Metrazur will do a big bar and lounge business.

                    1. re: Bux

                      It came to $2 per bite. Is that what tapas normally costs? I think that's a bit high, short of stratospheric food like truffles and caviar...

                    2. re: Barb. H.

                      For what it's worth, Daniel Young seems to agree about Métrazur's skimpy portions and lackluster food.


              2. re: Kathy

                When I have a craving for fried clams and New England Clam Chowder, I head to the Oyster Bar for lunch. The fried clams are basically all clam bellies and so rich and molten inside that the fried clam sandwich is almost too much. The chowder is also great and they sell it to go for train bound types to take home.

                1. re: Kathy

                  I've actually never eaten anything there other than the Manhattan Clam Chowder (my fave soup). It's a great place to go for lunch, I used to love going there for lunch and sitting at one of the horseshoe shaped bars to have soup with lots of oyster crackers. The Manhattan Clam is excellent. There are probably better places to go, foodwise, but the room is beautiful, it really takes me back to a different time. Know that it is basically, other than the back room, all tiled, ceiling included, and quite noisy.

              3. re: Kathy

                Kathleen, I envy your first-time trip to New York. It's a city you'll never forget and you will count your days and dollars until you can get back again. I live in St. Louis but get to New York (both kids live there) as often as I can afford. On my first trip, I shared a cab from LaGuardia with a fascinating Rastafarian guy. He helped with my bags at my daughter's East Village apartment. She was aghast that I'd done such a thing. Anyway, have a great adventure, seeing and eating. p.

                1. re: pat hammond

                  hey pat, great story! you're so cool.


                  i actually found the new england clam chowder to be quite disappointing a few months back. maybe the manhattan is the way to go (not to mention more appropriate :-) ). i liked the steamer clams there very much (though much better at fireman's of brooklyn - you can search for my post if interested which also mentions how to eat steamers). at least steamers are cooked so you won't have to deal with the cold sliminess of oysters. if they have them, though, i recommend trying some kumamoto oysters; they're tiny little jewels that go down easy.

                  good luck and let us know how everything goes. and for after meal fun, stand facing a corner just outside in front of the oyster bar. have your husband stand facing the opposite corner at the other side of the arch that curves above. then whisper anything you want and have your husband whisper back. the acoustics are such that you'll be able to hear each other even though about 35 feet apart. it's a neat trick. okay, i need to get a life, but just thought i'd share that with you. :-)


            2. I'd do Aquagrille in SoHo if you want great oysters (the selection is far superior)and seafood without hoards of tourists.

              1. i used to hate oysters. then i kept on trying them when other ordered them. i discovered that the oysters from the northeast coast are less salty and fishy. try east coast oysters before deciding that they are out. they used to be pretty good at docks oyster bar (broadway/90th st & also 3rd ave/40th st.)

                1. Im assuming, maybe falsely, that your boyfriend served you raw oysters on the half shell. Raw shellfish can be tough, at first. My mom grew up in a (raw) oyster loving family in former days in Iowa, and has never been able to go near seafood as a result. Maybe a cooked oyster dish, like oysters rockefeller or oyster stew would be more palatable for you. Might be worth a try, anyway.

                  1. I'll post a report when we return from our trip. A little Manhattan Clam Chowder might be in order for me. Maybe I'll try ONE (gag) oyster.....