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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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It's a Classic. It's also Loud.

By amsterdam9 on 12/4/2002

  • Overall Rating: 8
  • Food: 9
  • Service: 8
  • Décor: 7
  • Yes, I would go back!

It's an institution and the oysters, other seafood dishes, and wine list -- the menu is huge -- make it a worthy one. If you can handle the noise, grab a table and soak up the atmosphere.

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224 out of 398 people found this review helpful.

Amazing Oysters!!

By PIXEE22 on 1/8/2003

  • Overall Rating: 7
  • Food: 7
  • Service: 8
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

The service was great! And our server did not make us feel like idiots when we asked about the vast oyster selection. Definitely a spot to simply enjoy a variety of oysters and a cocktail. Lots of non-oyster options too!

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335 out of 659 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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319 out of 642 people found this review helpful.

Shuck 'em

By marieviljoen on 4/10/2003

  • Overall Rating: 7
  • Food: 7
  • Service: 6
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

Eat the oysters. Lots of them. The house-smoked tenderloin of salmon on the deep blue plate with the black bread is remarkably fine. Sit at the bar and watch the oystermen work. They are grumpy and unfazed by whoever you are and if they smile at you your whole day flips over and grins. Try the clam chowder, but you may be sorry. The fish, in general, is OK, but not at those prices. The bouillabaisse is a disgrace. It's great place to bring a tourist-friend, a crew of friends, or to sit in quite alone - because there is so much to watch. The wine list is extensive, over-priced, and pretty good. If you eat wisely you leave happy, and aware that you live in New Yawk.

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302 out of 643 people found this review helpful.

GO FISHING IN GRAND CENTRAL

By adsong on 5/29/2003

  • Overall Rating: 8
  • Food: 9
  • Service: 6
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

Touted as one of the more famous seafood places in New York, This large,indeed cavernous restaurant with its vaulted ceilings, has withstood the test of time(Except of a couple of years, when it closed due to a fire) with its very,very large menu (One page...but its a BIG One page) with daily specials, and a vast listing of wines. Sit at the bar, or at a table, and order their wonderful chowders,($4.50) or from their selections such as :Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Greek Salad - Served Chilled with Feta Cheese- $29.95 Grilled Ecuadorian Bigeye Tuna Steak - With Jalepeno Cilantro Cream - $24.95 Broiled Hawaiin Pompano Filet - With Chimichurri Sauce and Grilled Balsamic Summer Vegetables - $25.95 Saute'ed Imported Turbot Filet - With Plum Tomato and Herb Fondue, Black Truffles and Oil - $26.95 Maryland Crab Cakes with Baltimore Hot Sauce - $27.95 among the many choices (You can even order wonderful Florida Stone Crabs, when in season.) This place is not cheap, and it is a bit noisy due to its tiled decor,but this gives you a chance to whisper "Sweet Nothings" into your loved one's ears.The Oyster Bar MUST be experienced by New Yorker's as well as (Oh,No!!)Tourists as well.!!!

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280 out of 623 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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283 out of 630 people found this review helpful.

Grand Central Classic

By martin_chamois on 5/7/2005

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Food: 10
  • Service: 9
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

Oyster Bar is a classic. After nearly 100 years in Grand Central it continues to shine bright. The seafood is classic American seafood. Not much has changed - all the better. Service is surprisingly good. The decor while not very modern fits the Grand Central environment and classic menu.

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329 out of 685 people found this review helpful.

classic but not always worth it

By melissafield on 5/11/2005

  • Overall Rating: 6
  • Food: 6
  • Service: 5
  • Décor: 9
  • Yes, I would go back!

I loved this place... eating the raw oysters and pan roasts. Then I brought some out of town guests and had a surprisingly dissappointing experience. There is no kids menu. We ordered fish and chips for the kids at 18$ we expected a great dish but were disappointed, any pub would have given us the same dish for half the price. The smoked fish (salmon, trout and sturgeon) plate is under "main dishes" but comes with nothing more than a couple thin slices of bland smoked fish. No accompanying salad, side veg.. nothing, and for 23$! We were waited on by 5 different people and no one came to our table to ask how the food was after we were served. The creamed spinach was heavily over spiced with nutmeg, all at the table agreed. It's a classic place, but I'd stick to a couple raw oysters and a panroast, spend the rest of your money somewhere else.

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306 out of 688 people found this review helpful.

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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299 out of 637 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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300 out of 647 people found this review helpful.

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