Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Station is one of those classic, iconic New York City landmarks with which I have only recently fallen in love.  From the ceiling constellations to the glitzy Apple Store to the shopping galleries and market stalls aplenty, there's certainly something for everyone from wide-eyed tourists to frazzled commuters to, well, me.  One of the special offerings at Grand Central Station is the Grand Central Oyster Bar down in the lower level.

If the train station upstairs is beautiful, then Grand Central Oyster Bar is super-sexy beautiful.  The restaurant is nestled in the tiled vaults of the station.  It is lit with an amber mood lighting that renders the Instagram filter unnecessary.  There are three distinct sections: the restaurant proper (where we dined), a grouping of lunch counters where they presumably shuck raw oysters right in front of you, and a big sports bar alcove off to one end.

I found the waitstaff to be very friendly, knowledgeable, and especially passionate about the food they were serving...and these qualities helped me get over the fact that - up until now - I was a raw oyster virgin!!

I put my trust in our waiter to bring me two good beginner oysters.  We also had fried calamari, a jumbo shrimp and lump crab Caesar salad, and a sea scallop pan roast.  When he brought out my oysters, I was a little apprehensive.  The texture certainly didn't seem appetizing and the miscellaneous bits and bobs of oyster anatomy didn't look appetizing. What I had were the Kumamoto and the Moonstone, though I couldn't tell you which was which.  All I know was I grabbed the less-gnarly looking one first and: bottoms up!

It definitely tasted like the ocean, as some people say of raw shellfish.  The texture wasn't that off-putting, since I slurped it down without chewing.  Not bad.

My second oyster was definitely less briny, and this one I chewed...which may have been a little mistake because, man, that is some weird texture.  I don't know what other food people would put up with that is simultaneously cold, salty, gelatinous, and watery.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy the experience, though, and there will be more raw oysters in my future.

The seafood bits of the jumbo shrimp lump crab salad were delicious: meaty, well-seasoned, and seafoody without being too funky (Alex is a little bit adverse to funky seafood).  The scallop pan roast was another interesting part of the meal, though (spoiler alert) I didn't love it.  According to our waiter, the Oyster Bar has these famous ginormous copper vats where they make seafood stews.  I chose the pan roast, which is like chowder with paprika and chili, but I found it was overly salty and extremely heavy.  The chunks of scallop, however, were a revelation: they were so sweet and succulent, even though they floated in this super salty soup.

Now that I have checked "raw oysters" off my food bucket list, I am certainly game to trying more!