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Grand Central's Oyster Bar & Restaurant, Grand Central Station and Park Slope


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Lunchtime. Hunger. New York City. What are there, like a thousand places to eat? Actually, there's probably more, especially if you count all the street meat that's around; carts, trucks, kiosks, people selling tamales out of their granny carts, sidewalk food sold by squatting women in Chinatown - and on and on.

Now compound that hunger problem with finding yourself in one of those places in New York City that sees a million people a day; people scurrying through its grand spaces, not there to eat but on their way from somewhere or to somewhere, generally in a hurry. And it happened to me last week (though I wasn't in a hurry), when I ended up here, to visit that store at the top of the stairs"¦

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Normally, giant railroad terminals aren't thought of as great places to eat (well, maybe in Italy, where you can often find a decent panini and a perfect espresso); they're usually where you can grab a crappy sandwich or half-cooked hot dog, on your way, as I said, to or from somewhere. Grand Central actually has a food court in its lower level, which certainly does a booming business at lunch. But look a little further underground and you'll stumble across this"¦

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Its official name is Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, and it has been sitting in the lower level of Grand Central Terminal for practically 100 years, falling into decline in the late 60s to early 70's then rescued, renovated and now once again feeding hundreds of seafood happy customers on a daily basis. Don't forget to check out the Gustavino tiled ceiling in this landmarked building"¦

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I like to grab a seat at the counter, because that way you get fed fast and you get to watch the show"¦

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Remember, this ain't Le Bernardin folks. So start off with a bowl of clam chowder (I like Manhattan-style)"¦

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Chock full of briny clams (get there early), slightly spicy and with a handful of those oyster crackers crushed into it, it hit the spot. Then I moved onto the real reason I was here"¦

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Perhaps the finest oyster po-boy you can find in the city, simply loaded with perfectly fried oysters, a little shredded lettuce and a swab of tartar sauce to top it all off. A squeeze of lemon brought it to perfection"¦under $10!

Even though I like the counter at lunch, the full menu is serious. Plenty of daily/seasonal specials. And the oysters? On any given day, the blackboard menu is likely to offer up at least 2 dozen varieties"¦

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I don't get here for lunch as often as I should, but for food this good, in a beautiful and historically landmarked building, it's worth a trip. And that goes for whether you're hopping on a train or not.

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Thanks for a beautifully illustrated post, weinoo. IMHO, Grand Central Oyster Bar is a quintessential NYC experience. I like to keep it simple too - a couple dozen oysters and a couple dirty martinis at the counter. Best way to kill time before a train, but also a destination in itself.

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The Oyster Pan Roast is an old fashioned indulgence.  But about a pint of heavy cream and a dozen oysters can stand up to the additions.  Cooked to order in jacketed steam pots.  

The key, of course, is the addition of Heinz's mysterious "Chili Sauce," which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the assemblage.  Never as good at home as when they make there in the pots, but quite serviceable on a cold night.

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I've been here a few times. I need to remember the only real point to coming here is for the fresh oysters and wine to slurp down with them.

I was talking about this place just two nights ago - a friend said the clam chowder (New England) was very good. Incidentally, the Grand Central outpost is open again.

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