Sake Gumi
I'm the worst and haven't blogged in a week-- my apologies. But to make up for it, I'm going to talk about my absolute favorite restaurant in the city, the Grand Central Oyster Bar.

I was introduced to this place by my dear family friends, the Hashimoto's, when I first moved here over 4 years ago-- we met at Grand Central and stopped off for a wee snack before getting on the 4 train for a Yankee game. It has been a long lustful love affair ever since.

To celebrate the end of my $100/2 Weeks-- and actually making it-- my wonderful, supportive friends came out to midtown for a raucous oyster fest. It was actually our very first NYC Umami Mart Convention, as W(h)ine-o, Troy Division and Aya came out, as well as a few other close friends.

The jam-packed menu is updated daily and is a seafood-lover's wet dream. No joke. They always have at least 20 different kinds of oysters, from all over the US, as well as all kinds of fish and shellfish-- fried, steamed, grilled, you name is, old school preparations abound.

But me? I pretty much always get the same thing: I order my Kumamotos and Totten Virginicas (both from the North West; Kumamotos are creamy and have a lot of depth and TVs are light and have a very subtle kelp flavor, which is really delightful), a few cherrystone clams (hard, sweet and juicy), a side of fries (they have the BEST fries--thin and crispy), and a beer from the tap. With this, I can eat on $20, if I'm lucky.

Everyone ordered different kinds of oysters. Aren't they beautiful?

The service is always excellent-- they always know what they are talking about when it comes to the oysters. I'll let our server tell you the kinds of oysters we ordered (sorry it is so dark; also be forewarned that I get really obnoxious when I am excited):

I often also order their Oyster Pan Roast, which is an oyster stew with a tomato-cream based soup, which is really so so tasty and comforting. They add a piece of plain white, Wonder-style bread in the stew, which is the perfect addition to the dish.

The Oyster Bar has been around since 1913, inconspicuously tucked under Grand Central Station. The architecture is really unique, with beautiful pearly white tiles sweeping over the entire restaurant. Overall, the atmosphere is unpretentious and laid back, with a bustling crowd of tourists and locals.

I always sit in the front bar area or the Saloon in the back, just because the dining tables are for people who are there to drop serious cash. You can also dine at the cafeteria style bar, where eat while watching the chefs make lobster bisque and shuck Kumamotos by the dozens. The place is huge and evokes a nostalgic old New York feeling. It's also a great place for people watching.

What can I say? In my eyes, the Oyster Bar is a truly special establishment, and I feel lucky to be so close to it. Can you feel the love?


Trivia: Troy informed us that the reason why oysters are considered aphrodisiacs is that the zinc in the oyster is said to heighten male testosterone. I just think they are truly sexy creatures.


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