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Dec 29, 2008 12:37 PM

oyster bar at Grand central, upgraded fastfood place

What a disgrace...just better than a fast food place. It is packed with lots of people, chaos.
The food is nothing to write about... I ordered the cat fish as a main dish, it is bread crumbed with a mild tomato sauce. The starter was a lobster cocktail, well it was half a tail, with a little mayo and and tomato sauce. But you pay as you are in a fancy restaurant. My husband had some oysters, that was ok. I use to remember this place many years was just much better.

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  1. I'm sorry you had that experience. We live in Calif. but have been in NYC 3x in the last year and wound up having lunch there each time and thought it was terrific. We ate in the bar/restaurant part over to the far right. Sat the bar each time. I don't remember everything we ate but I know we had raw oysters, a clam sandwich, chowder and "other stuff" :) It was all really good and we loved the environment. Didn't seem as touristy as some places. Sorry you didn't have the same kind of experience.

    1. the overwhelming opinion here is that GCOB is a great historic place to sit at the bar and eat an extremely wide variety of fresh raw oysters at very decent prices, but that the cooked food (and the main room overall) is overpriced, bland, and not worth the bother...i'm sorry that your experience there was the latter, and if i went there and i'd ordered as you did, i'd probably be equally annoyed with the place...

      but i think calling GCOB a flat-out "disgrace" is unfair: eating the cooked food is a mediocre/lame experience, one usually experienced by tourists who haven't bothered to read the board here...but eating raw oysters at the bar w/ a strong ale and maybe some chowder is a classic NYC experience and usually highly enjoyable...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Simon

        howdy simon,
        i've given up on the oysters at gcob. it's a pan roast at the counter and a beer for me now. pity, the place was pretty good back in the day. i still like the double secret bar way in the back but that's a different story that has more to do with false memories from my youth and an 18-year-old drinking age.

        1. re: steve h.

          Hi steven h,

          My preferred dish at GCOB is the same as yours - oyster pan roast. I think they still do a good job on that. I have had good and bad experiences on raw oysters there. Sometimes the oysters have pieces of shells in them, and that's really a no-no when you call yourself a oyster bar. When they have Belon, I will still order it. But in general I rather go to Aquagrill for raw oysters.

          Sometimes they also have some unique specials that are hard to find elsewhere, like shad roe and fresh herring.

          1. re: kobetobiko

            howdy kobetobiko,
            i used to pick up a bouliabasse bucket at the gcob take-out window back in the day. the aroma was heady. i was the envy of the metro north crowd heading back to connecticut. those days are gone.
            shaffer city is my "goto" oyster place nowadays.

            1. re: kobetobiko

              Kobe-I agree though it's the lobster pan roast for me. GCOB does have certain oyster varieties that my "go to" oyster bars-AquaGrill and Shaffer-sometimes don't carry such as belons

              1. re: guttergourmet

                my fav oysters from GCOB are the Rocky Pass (Alaska), as well as the Quilcene and Hood Canal...

        2. Being a tourist from San Diego, we went and had oysters, chowder, grouper and a couple of beers and wine and had a great time..the surly waiters were a riot and we sat in the dining room..oyster bar was full and next to us was that Captain in all the Star Trek movies..
          Food was good and loved the whole experience..

          1. I wouldn't call it a disgrace, although you're correct that the entrees are crazy expensive. I've been there for oysters and beer at the counter many times, and I firmly believe that's the way to go. I've also had lunch in the tavern room, which has an extremely reasonable sandwich menu (pretty sure nothing is over $10).

            1. I think chaos is the point as it is so bustly and New York-y. It's the experience that counts here I think. Personally I love the place! (I see the Dover Sole is back on the menu and it is fabulous).