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Grand Central Oyster Bar Review

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Last night my uncle Bill - aka BIM on these boards, Mike (both visiting from LA) and I headed up to Grand Central Oyster Bar for night two of great eating.

Unfortunately, we arrived so late that they were out of many of the dishes we wanted. Poor Bill desperately wanted to try the Oyster Buffalo Wings (what is that, anyway?) but to no avail.

So we "settled" with a shrimp cocktail and a dozen oysters to start. The shrimp cocktail came with 5 giant shrimp with cocktail sauce. They were very yummy. As for the oysters, we based the choice on recommendations from our server. We got 6 of one kind, 3 of another and 3 of another (I'm sorry, I can't remember which ones they were!) Unfortunately, I wasn't a huge fan of the 6, which he had most highly recommended. They were too salty for my taste - I like a sweeter finish. The other sets of 3 were delicious (save the last one that I ate which tasted a bit off. No sign of food poisoning yet...phew.)

Entrees included the Oyster Pan Roast (Bill), Broiled Giant Scallops (me) and...well, I told Mike I wouldn't include his order in my report, as he was embarrased that he didn't order something more chow worthy. I will respect his wishes...excuse me but I think I'm about to sneeze...aaaaa-fish and chips-CHOOO...damn alleriges. Anyway, Bill's pan roast was delicious! It was comprised of several oysters and a large piece of bread, floating in a red, creamy sauce that had a strong essence of wine (Sherry, as Bill put it more specifically). My scallops were perfect. They came with no sauce, no breading, no coating, just simply broiled, succulent scallops - delicious. Mike's dish was quite excellent as well. I haven't had his "order" since I was in England and I must say that this was equally as good! No shame, Mike, no shame!

Service was decent. Clearly we arrived near closing, so I don't think they were thrilled to see us, but our server was very knowledgeable (save the oysters - I had specifically requested a sweet finish) and very 'down to business' but in a light-hearted way. Again, I think this had to do with the timing of our arrival.

I'm not sure about the total cost (thanks again, Bill!), but it was a great ending to a long and stressful day for me.

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  1. Thanks for the report. I love the oyster pan roast. I'll have to head back up that way soon.

    1. One great thing though - after we ordered the oyster wings (someone explain what that is) and were told they were out, our waiter brought us a little print-out of everything that was unavailable. I've never seen that before. A little while later we were discussing maybe ordering some steamer clams and the waiter, breezing past, overheard and shouted "No steamers! Read the list!" A real New York moment.

      - Uncle BIM

      Hey Mel, where we going tonight?

      1. Hey Melanie and Uncle Bill,

        Nice to hear that you enjoyed the Oyster Bar. While it has some hits and misses, oyster pan roast is also my favorite there. I also enjoy raw Belon oysters which are quite hard to find in other seafood restaurants. One thing though, please tell Mike that there is no such thing as "not chow worthy". There are many chowhounds who like halal street carts, hot dogs, or may be just a bagel in the neighborhood deli. If he enjoyed the food, then it's chow-worthy. If he were to order something that he did not like, then that's not chow-worthy!

        Uncle Bill, I pasted a link to a blog for midtown lunch options but was removed by the CH team (not sure why....) You can try to google it, it is called midtown lunch.

        What do you guys feel like eating tonight?

        5 Replies
        1. re: kobetobiko

          I adore the Oyster Bar too! And the Oyster Pan Roast is fabulous. They used to have a marvelous chocolate mousse but they didn't have it last time I was there.

          1. re: kobetobiko

            Hi Kobe! You are truly a wonderful 'hound! I did indeed tell Mike that there is no shame in his order, but you put it much more eloquently and I will be sure to relay the message. Bill said that he went to Taam Tov today for lunch and will post a review at some point (I wonder why the hounds removed your link(?)) As for tonight, not sure what to do! Bill is very into rather obscure ethnic foods and/or parts of animals that most people wouldn't think of as edible : ). Any thoughts?

            1. re: Melanie

              Ha! This is interesting! I know restaurants that offer one or two "obscure" food or offal dishes, but very rarely will a restaurant specialize in all offal dishes. That's probably a good thing as we also want to take care of Mike! =D

              Korean BBQ in korean town probably gives you the widest variety of meat and offals, like tripes, tongue, liver, and sucy. However, since you guys already have Momofuku, you may want to try something non-korean. Here are a few options:

              Yakitori Taisho (St. Marks Pl) or Yakitori Totto - Japanese Izakaya (small plates) with a lot of skewers (yakitori), ranging from simple chicken meatball or vegetables to (for Uncle Bill) chicken gizzards, hearts, skins, beef livers, etc. They used to have chicken sashimi (yes! raw chicken meat) but I don't think they have it anymore. Other dishes are more approachable, like ramen, rice in clay pot, miso marinated cod, grilled salmon, and sushi rolls. Very cheap! You can lookup their menu at nymag.com

              Landmarc, Blue Ribbon, or Crispo - They have my beloved bone marrow! Of course plenty of other offerings such as pasta and steaks and seafood. Crispo has a variety of ltalian ham as appetizers so everyone can share.

              The Inn LW12 - (At Little W 12th St) - A new gastropub with dishes like crispy pig trotters and veal cheek and tongue. Before you faze out there are also the familiar trout, monkfish, braised beef and pork chops. Most importantly, poutine!!! Very hearty and filling.

              Tia Pol (spanish tapas) - not really offals per se, but it has a lot of interesting dishes and are great for sharing.

              You can check out all their menus on menupages.com or nymag.com.

              If I can think of more I will add to the list! Hope a wonderful dinner!

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Kobe, you're the BEST!!

                How funny - I actually suggested Yakitori Taisho last night, but it was nixed because "LA already has amazing Japanese." I should have explained it better. Bill, maybe we should go here tonight?

                MMM...Landmarc, Blue Ribbon and Crispo. I've been to all three (thank goodness for visiting family members!) and I whole-heartedly agree that they are wonderful. HOWEVER, I didnt know that Crispo had bone marrow! How could i have missed that? My Crispo dining companion (aka my dad) would have loved this (Bill's brother - go figure) I think Bill visited Blue Ribbon last time he was here (but without ME...I know...how dare he?). I agree that the bone marrow is fantastic.

                The Inn LW12 and Tia Pol, eh? Oh man, I think my uncle and Mike need to extend their stay...They're leaving on Saturday!!!

                1. re: Melanie

                  I never can understand the negative reviews for the GCOB. I've been eating there over 20 years and never had a bad meal. It has the most consistently fresh seafood. Granted, the service can be spotty. Its my all-time favorite restaurant in NYC and if eaten in them all.