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Herring Festival Grand Central June 5, 2013

I saw the sign up today in the station. The whole thing starts on or around June 5.

I went every Friday during the season which only lasts a little over two weeks. One of the greatest things at the Oyster Bar. Of course, it is an excuse to eat oysters and clams too....and to wash it down with Dutch Genever.


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    1. Great catch! I still remember eating raw herring cut up with raw onion from the little carts by the sea in Scheveningen--long before I'd ever heard of sushi.

      1. I am pretty certain Russ and Daughters gets the same herring this time of year.

        6 Replies
        1. re: foodwhisperer

          You think Russ and Daughters serves raw herring, Dutch style?

          1. re: Elisa515

            Most definitely. Every year around this time. I usually go on three or four occasions and eat a filet right at the counter, with chopped raw onion.


            1. re: small h

              Fantastic, thanks! (making plans)

            2. re: foodwhisperer

              Russ & Daughters definitely have it every year. However, you can not eat it there. If you can get it home, great. (I was actually tempted to show up with a cooler and bring some to Rhode Islande for my inlaws, but that was a logistical nightmare. I actually got it there one year after I missed out on the Oyster Bar season. I was reduced to eating it on the street with my fingers from a plastic tub.

              1. re: jcmods

                I went to the parkette across Houston and ate the raw herring there, along w/ some other goodies from R&D.

            3. Looks like(and obviously) Aquavit has an herring event too.
              Anyone been?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Monica

                We've been to Aquavit's herring fest every year for the last four or five years - always excellent. They've changed it up a bit this year, though: previous years you just got the big AYCE smorgasbord - a half-dozen herrings, meatballs, two kinds of salmon (gravlax and hot-smoked) plus a few other things. This year I'm not sure what's in the buffet, but they're also including an entree and dessert of your choice to sweeten the deal a bit. Not sure if you can pick any entree off the menu or there'll be a specific selection, though. It's also only two days this year - we're going the first day, very much looking forward to it.

                1. re: sgordon

                  It looks like the festival is from June 15th to 22nd which is 8 days. I am going to see if I can go on the weekdays as I work literally about 2 min away. Sounds like a sweet deal.

                  1. re: Monica

                    From the email: "Aquavit's Annual Herring Festival will take place on Saturday June 15th and 22nd from 11:45-2:30pm." - so only those two days unless they've changed something. They might actually be fully booked already, but sometimes tables can be gotten by calling that aren't in the online rez system.

                    1. re: sgordon

                      You are right. Where did I get 'to' from?
                      Thanks for the clarification.

              2. What is actually happening on the 5th? It says the herring are coming in but the festival doesn't start until the 19th.

                Any idea on whether they have their herring to go? I've gotten used to heading to Russ & Daughters for the Hollandse Nieuwe and having them at my convenience where prying eyes aren't terrified of a man eating a whole herring like a seal... or a Dutchman.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JungMann

                  According to an email I received from R&D, the Dutch authorities postponed the start of the season 'til 6/19 because "Exploratory fishing determined that the herring have not yet reached their peak Omega-3 fat level."

                  1. re: small h

                    that is correct. the bad weather (it's been the coldest spring since mid 80's or so?) is responsible for the delay. it's happened only twice in history though. was first postponed in 2006.

                    herring sellers have been selling the so-called 'new' for about 3 weeks now.

                    <-- this seal eats around 120 a year.

                  2. re: JungMann

                    Oh no, glad I checked. It is on the Grand Central Web page that it is pushed back to the 19th.

                    I was really jonesin' for it.

                  3. Note that the GCOB is in the middle of renovations and the large dining room is closed. The herring fest will be a madhouse. And I have seen people show up with coolers to bring them home. Website list June 19th as the start.

                    1. The herring is on for today. Also Russ and Daughters taking orders for pickup. $40 for 10 filets.

                      1. Went over the weekend and the herring was fantastic. $7 per order with the usual chives, onion and egg. The fish itself was extremely fresh, almost sweet. Highly recommended to anyone who loves raw fish. Definitely going again this week.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: MVNYC

                          Soooooo awesome! First time for me to have these and absolutely loved them. Definitely plan to eat more before they are through....Sidenote, had some wonderful plump cherrystones at GCOB as well.

                          1. re: Silverjay

                            Is it only to stay or can you take them to go? There's just something about Hollandse Nieuwe that makes them inherently street food to me. Any word on the status at Russ & Daughters?

                            1. re: JungMann

                              Just called Russ N Daughters and they have them in.

                              1. re: JungMann

                                You can get them to go. Ive seen people bring coolers to take them home on the train.

                              2. re: Silverjay

                                Yeah this was the first time for me for the Herring Festival but I loved it. Probably going to have a nice lunch there tomorrow. I made the mistake of getting oysters last time so I will try those cherrystones as well. The oysters were fine, just not in peak season.

                              3. re: MVNYC

                                I think I am going to check them out today for lunch. order a sandwich and a glass of cold beer at a counter and a herring dish..sounds like a perfect lunch.

                                1. re: Monica

                                  Yeah beer and herring are a great combo. You actually gave me a great idea of getting the 40 filets at Russ N Daughters mentioned up thread and having a nice picnic in DBA's back yard.

                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                    Because of the delay by the Dutch Government we were not able to get there on the first Friday. But I am going this Friday if it kills me...and at least one more time on July 3rd.

                                    I recommend having the Genever (indigenous Dutch gin...it's a lot easier to stomach than straight regular gin and it goes wonderfully with the herring.)

                                2. re: MVNYC

                                  I fully enjoyed the herring too! So flavorful and fresh!

                                3. Finally got a chance to go to Grand central oyster bar for some herring, tuna burger and a glass of ice cold beer.
                                  Had an excellent time at the counter. Herring was butterly, firm and flavorful. Tuna burger with tomatoes was excellent as well. Had a beer called Allagash and I finally found the beer of my dream.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Monica

                                    Allagash is the name of the brewery. Currently GCOB is pouring their white ale...I had a Victory Prima Pils...They always have a few nice beers across different categories.

                                  2. We went to GCOB for the herring festival with our Dutch neighbors. Great fun!!
                                    Fabulous fresh Herring filets. We held them up by the tail and ate them Amsterdam style.
                                    A dozen oysters, chowder and oyster roast completed the meal.
                                    Our neighbors even got some herring to go!! I was disappointed they did not wear their wooden shoes.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      Ha, I wanted to eat like that too but I was alone and it just felt awkward..haha. I should go back and order some mattaki oysters. Do you prefer new england style chowder or manhattan style chowder?

                                      1. re: Monica

                                        I like New England chowder better. We took a Winter trip to Amsterdam and found food trucks selling herring. Held the tails and took a big bite!!! Tasty!