Sunday, 20 January 2008

The Oyster Bar

Deep under Grand Central Station lies one of the best lunch spots in New York. Hang up your coat, sit down at the counter and order a half dozen Bluepoints and a glass of Sancerre.

The restaurant opened in 1913 and has been open ever since, serving generations of train passengers, Midtown office workers and tourists. It is also well-known for its splendid vaulted ceiling, designed by Rafael Guastavino, with its distinctive herringbone tile pattern.

The menu is enormous, but it's best to stick to the basics. The oyster pan roast (also available with shrimp or other fish) is a classic, with oysters cooked in cream and melted butter. There's a huge selection of freshly-shucked oysters: local Bluepoints from Long Island, Wellfleets from up the coast off Massachusetts, Kumamotos from the West Coast and imported Belons. There's also plenty of other grilled and fried fish (and a couple of token meat offerings) if you don't fancy the shellfish.

Or you can have what I normally get for lunch - a steaming hot bowl of New England clam chowder (with extra oyster crackers) and a glass of India Pale Ale.

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