NYC
Updated June 3, 2022, Posted September 16, 2018

The Grand Central Oyster Bar is a pretty famous spot in New York City located in the Grand Central Terminal off of 42nd St. This is the central train hub that people take to go towards upstate New York and beyond such as Connecticut. I had been here a while back, but this would be the first time for my partner. What better way is there other than to grab some oysters before jumping on a train back home. This location is at the lower level right close to the dining concourse and right next to the 4 columns that has a distinct sound acoustics.

Ambiance

The interior of the restaurant is pretty interesting. To the right when you enter, there are a bunch of counters similar to those you would see in a diner. To the left when you enter, there are a bunch of normal dining tables. I sat at the counter, and it was just a cool experience because it comes right out to you. Other than that, the dining table is also fine too. The acoustics in this restaurant are very distinct in that it has concave ceilings throughout the restaurant. This dampens crowd noise effectively, and allows you to have good normal conversations with your party.

There were a lot of open tables in the dining area and in the counter area around 6 PM on a Friday. We were able to walk in easy and were seated at a table.

The service itself was pretty fast and no frills. They did get some of my order wrong, but not a huge big deal for me considering I had low expectations to begin with. On Yelp, many patrons were expecting very good service for some reason, so definitely level your expectations given this is also a tourist destination.

Food

The oyster pan roast, taken in 2018, was alright. This is supposedly a feature item that first-time guests should order just to try it. Some will love it.

The oyster stew ($16.95) came with cream, butter, and clam juice. It tasted similar to how I remembered when I ordered the pan roast above back in 2018. It’s fairly watery with some clam and “sea” flavors to it. The cream was not heavy nor was the butter, but you can definitely taste the fat from it. I believe the oysters were Blue Point, and they did not taste fishy at all.

The Fried Ipswich Clams ($18.95) came with tartar sauce on the side. The clams were pretty fresh and tasted great. For $19, it was not a whole lot of quantity.

The soft shell crab was taken in 2018. You can see below for how it looks several years later and post-COVID pandemic.

The Jumbo Soft Shell Crab ($39.99) is seasonal and not always available. It comes with 2 pieces, some steamed vegetables, potatoes, and lemon wedges. It has some type of wet mayo drizzle on it. The soft shell crabs were pretty good, but probably would not satiate hunger without some appetizers or other dishes. At $40, it is a little expensive as you can buy some of this from Jimmy’s Seafood in Maryland and cook it yourself for less. Nonetheless, it definitely was good enough to fulfill my soft shell crab desires.

The soft shell crab was pretty decent too. I think I’d get the clam chowder over the oyster pan roast.

The Maryland Crab Cakes, Spicy Red Sauce, and Fries ($39.95) caught us by surprise. We were expecting this to be oven baked like how other seafood places do it, but we definitely did not expect two fried crab balls. The ratio of crab meat was not great, but the inside was moist and had decent flavor to it. The fries surprisingly were pretty good because they were crisp’d up and had a nice amount of potato meat to it. The spicy red sauce was unneeded as it was just simply marinara sauce. I did not taste much spice to it, but when you dip the crab meat into it, the crab cake flavor is a bit overwhelmed by the tomato sauce.

Final Verdict

Grand Central Oyster Bar is a average New York City establishment that does oysters/seafood decently. There are better priced places in the city, but this really is a nice place for seafood given its convenience to a lot of other amenities such as upstate/local trains and bars. The price is not the cheapest, so keep that in mind before ordering a ton of oysters.

Yelp Jabs

food was AMAZING. 5 stars. They Key Lime pie was the best I have ever had.

You’d have to wonder what pies this Elitist has had in the past. There is no way this has the best key lime pie. The food was far from amazing, but I’d definitely say it met expectations.

My only criticism would be the bowl of clam chowder we got was a bit too thick for my liking, and the mignonette that they served with the oysters was basically just vinegar with almost no shallots.

The food here, as shared in the pictures in this post, is just very straight forward and nothing fancy. So the fact of the mignonette not even having a few shallots is not surprising.

Revisions

  1. Jun 3, 2022 - Added Oyster pan stew, fried ipswich clams, Maryland crab cakes, and soft shell crab plate.
  2. Sep 16, 2018 - Initial revision.