All Reader Reviews of...
89 E. 42nd St., lower level, New York, NY, 10017
at Vanderbilt Ave.
Worst fish I can remember, cafeteria-like ambiance
By frenchfood on 12/20/2012
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.
We walked out
By bookseller on 11/29/2012
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.
Fallen landmark, now second-rate tourist trap
By FL123 on 7/9/2012
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.
Terrible Service, Dissappointing Meal
By echung0 on 5/20/2012
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.
Been going there for decades
By ahfurman on 11/15/2011
We have gone to the Oyster Bar for decades. If you want quick, cheap stuff to put in your mouth and swallow, go elsewhere. If you are a oyster fan, this is a great place. My introduction to raw oysters happened 60 years ago. We have eaten oysters in Paris, Seattle, Ill de Rey in France, Boston, Bellingham in WA, Port Townsend in WA, Galveston in TX, New Orleans, Grand Isle, LA, Boston, Biloxi, MS (before the Whitecap was washed away) and even Forth Worth, Texas. Raw, pan fried, and other preparations. So my favorite lunch at the Oyster Bar is an appetizer of raw oysters, then pan fried oysters and cole slaw with a nice glass of white wine. I plan on being there for lunch December 7 and was just checking the hours they are open. Oops, salivating!!
ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE! no redeeming qualities!
By cjasoncideko on 11/2/2010
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!
By lc11231 on 2/15/2010
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.
Terrible service and SLOW!
By Nicole673 on 9/13/2009
Took 4 out of town guests here last night. Arrived at 7:15 and by 8pm we didn't even have our appetizers. Our waiter was so rude. He would walk away while we were trying to order and go attend to another table. After we finally got our apps, he came back with a LONG printed listed of all the things they were out of. It was about half their menu (no lobsters, broiled scallops, grouper, sole, trout, bass, etc.). The waiter then said "well you know we are closed tomorrow so it is the end of our week". I'm sorry but isn't this Saturday night in Manhattan? We spoke to a manager mid-meal to try and sort out the slow service and how they mixed up about everything we ordered. Although he talked to us, nothing was offered in the way compensation. Also, they tacked on an automatic grat of 18% and there were only 5 of us. The only good thing I can say is my food tasted good, but I thought it was expensive for what I got.
Worst experience in New York
By HalNic on 9/11/2009
Canteen quality, horrible service, nonsense prices. Waste of money and time!
Had a really good dining experience
By questered on 6/23/2009
The oyster house service was very good the day we attended (6-9-09). I had soft shell & my wife had salmon. She says it was the best salmon she has had. Soft shell was good too.
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