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All Reader Reviews of...

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

89 E. 42nd St., lower level, New York, NY, 10017
at Vanderbilt Ave.
212-490-6650

Avg. Rating

4
Food: 5
Service: 4
Décor: 6
"Not Recommended"

Average Reader Rating on a Scale of 10.

32% would go back.

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We walked out

By bookseller on 11/29/2012

  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Food: 6
  • Service: 3
  • Décor: 2
  • No, I would not go back!

The restaurant was so noisy that it was almost physically unpleasant. My friend and I decided to leave, but after waiting close to 15 minutes for a waiter to come and ask if we wanted to order, we just put some cash on the table and walked out. THAT's when a waiter got interested in us. I used to love this place, but I don't think I'll be back.

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68 out of 148 people found this review helpful.

Fallen landmark, now second-rate tourist trap

By FL123 on 7/9/2012

  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Food: 5
  • Service: 3
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

Took my son for his 24th birthday and he noticed that this NYC landmark had a kitchen so evidently dirty it only scored a B on its Health Dept. inspection. The banquette section where was sat was fine but w/virtually no A/C. I don't believe an underground restaurant in a modern city should let patrons sweat through their shirts because of inadequate A/C or lack of a fan if they knew A/C was spotty. I became ill afterward, possibly from heat exhaustion walking outside later on a sweltering evening, but perhaps partly because of 3 raw clams I ill-advisedly (given the B rating) ate. Finally the waiter deliberately padded our bill with an extra appetizer and a 3rd drink when we had 2. He didn't blink or even LOOK at the bill or ask any question; he knew we'd caught him. As we were leaving, I noticed one or two diners wearing basketball tank tops. I'm not advocating, by any means, a return to the days when one was turned away for not having a jacket (as recently as the mid-1980s, which was hardly a time of "Mad Men" suit-and-tie attire). But tank tops in a purportedly fine-dining restaurant with $30+ entrees? Or is it no longer that? The only other kind of restaurant with those types of prices who welcome tank tops is "tourist trap" -- which the once-great now second-rate Oyster Bar has become.

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67 out of 137 people found this review helpful.

Shuck it...could ya?

By hey_hon on 9/29/2003

  • Overall Rating: 5
  • Food: 6
  • Service: 2
  • Décor: 7
  • No, I would not go back!

OK, you are THE OYSTER BAR - shuck the oyster all the way, prying it open is only half the job, I HATE digging attached oyster off the shell, it ruins the appeal! The oysters are tasty enough but small - even when 3 X-Large Malpeques were ordered, 2 were not X-Large and one was. They are also incredibly expensive but then again this is a tourist trap. A bowl of steamers were topped with minced onions too bitter to consume. The server at the raw bar never said 2 words and banged everything we ordered on the counter. Nice.

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289 out of 647 people found this review helpful.

Horrible service in my life

By myskylab on 5/11/2009

  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Food: 6
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 5
  • No, I would not go back!

I would say that visiting this oyster bar was one of the most horrible expericence in my life. I read the other reviews, and apparently, My friends and I are not the only people who are appalled by their horrible service. After asking two or three questions on their menu, my friend told our server that we need more time to decide the order, and the server literally told my friend 'Don't make her to come to the table twice to get your order because she is busy person'. After that, the service got worse and went to the worst-Snaching our plate that we are still eating, and the server kept insisting she did nothing wrong....horrible, horrible! Food? It was not bad but not good either. Would I go back to this restaurant? Hell, NO. Why would I? There are so many good restaurants out there that have awesome food and are friendly at the same time, so why would I waste my money and time here?

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92 out of 191 people found this review helpful.

Terrible Service, Dissappointing Meal

By echung0 on 5/20/2012

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 3
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

I had high hopes for this restaurant. Despite the oysters, the food was either bland or dry. The rice that came with the red snapper tasted like the rice airlines serve during a flight. I'm not exaggerating, it was rubbery and dry. The fish dishes all seemed overcooked. The one heartbreaking piece of the meal was the new england clam chowder, which at a supposedly top seafood restaurant, wouldnt be overly salty and lukewarm. I had dreams that were dashed when I thought this could be a place I could regularly go to for a good bowl of chowder. However, I think there is a reason for the food being lukewarm. The service was slow. And when we needed someone to get pick up our check, no one would come. In fact, one waiter briefly looked at us waiving our hands and then went on to serve another table without even acknowledging our presence or even helping us find our waiter. So, my boyfriend had to get up and hand the check over to that waitier who dismissively told us to go up to the hosts' desk. And, the host had tried to charge us the 18% gratuity tip. Luckily we told him we were actually under the minimum party of 6. I do not recommend this place. It has nice historic value. But you would be better off going to city island in the Bronx for seafood, which is closer to the fish market that had been relocated from downtown Manhattan anyway.

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74 out of 140 people found this review helpful.

Food Poisoning

By lc11231 on 2/15/2010

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 6
  • Décor: 7
  • No, I would not go back!

Half our party got severe food poisoning from eating the oysters. The lobster bisque and clam chowder were inedible. Do not go here. Overrated, overpriced, unsafe and generally disgusting.

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127 out of 262 people found this review helpful.

Worst experience in New York

By HalNic on 9/11/2009

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 3
  • Service: 2
  • Décor: 7
  • No, I would not go back!

Canteen quality, horrible service, nonsense prices. Waste of money and time!

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150 out of 283 people found this review helpful.

Worst experience ever

By Coachian on 11/19/2008

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 3
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

I was visiting New York and decided to dine at the oyster bar for my 50th birthday, what a terrible mistake. The service was appalling the waiter was a miserable jerk, the food was less than second rate and they gave my wife the wrong dish. They were unable to get it right so I complained and asked for the bill. I was given no less than three separate bills before they could get that right and was overcharged on each of them. I refused to tip the pathetic waiter and was made to feel like I was breaking the law. Without any doubt the VERY WORST restaurant experience I have had anywhere in the world. In one word Atrocious, DO NOT GO THERE!

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83 out of 159 people found this review helpful.

Not Good

By nyj85 on 7/19/2008

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 5
  • Décor: 6
  • No, I would not go back!

A friend wanted to go here, so I went along. I liked the look of the space...but that was about it. The bread was rubbery, which is never a good sign. The main course was worse. I had the swordfish - absolutely tasteless. My friends had the lobster roll, also bland. It might be worth it to sit in the front and grab a drink, but I would not recommend eating here.

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70 out of 138 people found this review helpful.

Worst fish I can remember, cafeteria-like ambiance

By frenchfood on 12/20/2012

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 3
  • Décor: 4
  • No, I would not go back!

The swordfish was overcooked, bland, and its texture suggested it had been badly frozen. The noise level was deafening but the restaurant has the vibe of a train station, not a place that's fun. The service was lousy too. All of the staff badly mimes passe steakhouse-style service. They clearly have absolutely no sense of what service is and don't care. Everything is run like an assembly line with no attention to what anyone needs or whether they have actually finished eating. We shared 2 desserts (buche de Noel and key lime pie, neither of which was particularly good) but the waiter couldn't be bothered bringing us each plates. He did throw a bunch of forks in the middle of the table and a few plates, just not one each! I managed to get another waiter's attention but he walked away without even responding. The coffee was good and the glass of riesling was good and reasonably priced. Nonetheless, I would not put up with food like this at any price.

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65 out of 127 people found this review helpful.

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