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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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In two parts...

By LM600 on 1/12/2007

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

Whilst on my 3rd trip to NY, my wife and I decided to go here...Boy, what a mistake. Charlie our waiter was superb, very friendly and very professional. The rest weren't. I ordered 6 'fresh' oysters from the menu, what turned up were grey, sorry looking things with some sort of live worm attached, about 3/4" in length, with 'frills' running down each side and a four sided mouth...I know this because it was the only thing that moved when I squeezed the little bit of lemon on them. Charlie was busy, so I tried to catch the eye of another waiter, didn't work. After about 5 minutes I got up and asked for my starter to be removed and was met with abuse from two waiters...Charlie came over and sorted it. The combination pan roast turned up as some sort of stew, and by stew I mean tomato soup with a couple of watery (pre-frozen?) scallops, some (uncleaned?), gritty shellfish and some sad looking, overcooked shrimp (2 & small)

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303 out of 649 people found this review helpful.

Second part

By LM600 on 1/12/2007

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

My wife faired better, her cooked oysters were 'OK' and her (also pre-frozen?) crab cakes were 'Alright...' Add to this, dirty floors, rammed in tables, a 'What the f*ck do you expect?' mentality and you won't be dissapointed. If like me, you'd seen pictures of this venerable restaurant growing up in England and wondering how good the food, service and memory will be then you will feel cheated, robbed, and a fool. To sum up, the place is a complete touist trap (although when we went there were a lot of business lunches going on), poor service apart from Charlie and a complete hole. $100 + tip, for tomato soup, and pre frozen 'food'. Look in, have a gawp at the tiling, maybe even go in and take it all in then leave and go somewhere else.

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310 out of 669 people found this review helpful.

NEVER go here

By kristy8 on 3/22/2008

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

This is the first time I have ever bothered to write a review, positive or negative. I live in New York, and eat out a lot. I have never, in my life, been so disappointed with a place. Every single person I spoke with was rude. The maitre d', our waiter, the bartender, the other maitre d'...everyone. Our waiter was probably the rudest of them all. After an hour and a half of sitting there and having a few oysters, which were just ok, we had yet to see any signs that we would ever be served any more food. We decided to leave, and we left starving and disappointed. The couple next to us were visiting from Holland and were also being ignored. I was embarrassed for the city that a place like this manages to stay open, which it obviously only does because it's convenient and it's a bit of a tourist trap. In short, never go here. It is an expensive, overrated pile of crap.

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34 out of 71 people found this review helpful.

DO NOT EAT RAW OYSTERS HERE -YOU WILL GET SICK!

By dragonboy on 4/14/2008

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

I had the worst experience here last week, had a half dozen raw oysters for lunch, 2 hours later it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, I then spent the next 24 hours on the toilet, with my insides being completely turned to liquid. The next day, I went to tell the management what happened, gave them my contact information, and still no response. I cannot believe they stick their head in the sand and do nothing when their customers are getting terribly ill. Do not eat here, go elsewhere, or enjoy spending 24 hours on the toilet like I did. You have been warned.

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92 out of 175 people found this review helpful.

Never again

By Poptarts on 2/18/2003

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

Hadn't been to the Oyster Bar in many years and had fond memories so when friends from CT were meeting us we decided it would be convenient and fun to go back. We were all terribly disappointed with the dispassionate service and mediocre food. Sole and salmon were overcooked and tasteless and mussels gave one of us a bad night. Value was no way commensurate with cost. Would never ever go back.

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326 out of 660 people found this review helpful.

DISGUSTING. DO NOT EAT HERE.

By voisla on 4/6/2008

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 5
  • Décor: 2
  • No, I would not go back!

I came here with a friend and his parents who were visiting from out of town. I've lived in new york for nine years and i've never had a meal so disgusting, regardless of price.The service was fine, the waiters had a large area to cover and they were for the most part, attentive. The food, however was a different story. I ordered poached fish with a carrot fennel puree and mixed vegetables. I wish i had a picture of my plate. What arrived looked like slophouse food from the depression. The puree tasted like dishwater. Our obliging waiter even tasted it himself and agreed something was wrong with it. The vegetables were overcooked and mushy, the fish was fresh, but lacking in any taste whatsoever despite the car oil like balsamic poured on top. All four of our meals were completely inedible. The manager was argumentative, rude and delusional (which you'd have to be to run a place like this). In the end we stlll had to end up paying for the majority of our meal- the most expensive meal i've never eaten. Tourist trap. NEVER GO HERE.

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45 out of 85 people found this review helpful.

2nd out of 3 Worst NY dining experiences

By lilyetscooter on 12/30/2008

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

I've been going to the Oyster Bar for 10+ years and have never had an experience so bad or humiliating as the one I had today at lunch. After waiting 45 minutes for our food, we got 1 of the 2 dozen oysters we ordered and were missing the panroast. The oysters we did get were an incorrect order and looked as if they had been sitting out open for quite a while. When I complained I was met with a resounding "Aaawwww" from the entire bar staff. Upon complaining to the management they nitpicked our check and were inept at dealing with the problem. Sadly I feel as though this is a NY Classic in name only anymore and in all my years of eating in NY have never had an entire waitstaff humiliate me in such a way. Out of three horrible dining experiences in NY ever this ranks as #2 and I will not go back.

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114 out of 210 people found this review helpful.

ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE! no redeeming qualities!

By cjasoncideko on 11/2/2010

  • Overall Rating: 2
  • Food: 1
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 8
  • No, I would not go back!

he waiter arrived to the table he tells us his specials & we order a drink. i ask where the restroom is located. he tells me & as i am getting up to leave the table he dares to ask for my order. when the 5th person arrived at the table(a 4 top) a hostess, waiter, busboy, & the "pay man" stood around not knowing where to get a chair from or where this guest was going to sit. this was just to much for the staff to comprehend-you would think we were in a foreign country, they stared in absolute bewilderment. i had to get up, while i was eating, to take a chair from a near by table. the hostess started arguing with me that i could not take a chair from another table, she was trying to stop me. YOU ARE KIDDING ME, RIGHT? where is my guest going to sit? i called and complained to the mgt. i learned that this is a "union" restaurant. everything made sense. now i understood why my guest could not get a chair - the staff could not find the person who's job it was to move chairs. remember the "pay man"? turns out this guys job is to process the credit cards. our waiter actually picked up the card, walked it 5 feet to the "pay guy" to process the card. COME ON PEOPLE! customer service demands going out of your way. a union does not allow its members to go out of their way to do anything! YOU WILL NOT GET GOOD SERVICE HERE! THE FOOD IS MEDIOCRE AT BEST! DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME! YOU WILL GET BETTER SERVICE & FOOD FROM THE WENDYS IN TIME SQUARE!

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104 out of 229 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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63 out of 122 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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67 out of 133 people found this review helpful.

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