Join Sake Gumi
Little did we know when we walked into the Oyster Bar last night that it would be in the midst of a 3 week-long festival for fresh herring! I am reading now that the GCOB does this every year, to celebrate the first “nieuwe maatjes” herring of the season from the Netherlands.

The herring came on a plate sliced open, deboned and garnished with slivered chives, hard boiled egg and grated onions. We ordered two pieces, and I regret that I was not able to take a picture before we started eating (er, pigging out). But here is the last half-piece, with the tail and all.

I swear to you, this was like no other herring I have ever tried. All of us were astonished when we first took a bite. First of all, it's not pickled- never have I had unpickled herring. It is totally raw, extremely fresh- SO GOOD!

It reminded me of Japanese style "aji no tataki" which is just raw chopped horse mackerel- so it's pretty fishy, but very clean-tasting. Extremely delicious. And it was really interesting to eat this with the onions and egg- although I wouldn't have minded some soy sauce. Ha- I'm so my mother's daughter (Hideko practically carries soy sauce with her wherever she goes).

You've got a full meal with a side of their fries- my favorite in the city!

There is this funny wagon truck thing in the middle of the bar area and blue and orange flags hanging everywhere- they actually serve the herring from this wagon! It was pretty awesome.

If you are in NY and are a fish-lover, GO NOW! The herrings swim away on Friday June 20, so you've got a week before this festival ends. I hope to go again if you want to join me!

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Grand Central Terminal


  • Bert- thanks for your nice comment! There are a series of places now that serve fresh herring in the beginning of summer in NYC. Besides Grand Central Oyster Bar (my personal favorite), I know Chef Smorgas had it on the menu, and I believe Aquavit in Midtown also celebrates it, so watch out for that next year.

    You can always go to Russ & Daughters for awesome pickled herring year round!

    kayoko on

  • Yum! I was in Leiden, Netherlands back in June. The company cafeteria I was visiting had herring (or "haring" as they call it in the Netherlands) on the first day of the season (June 9 I believe). I was skeptical, but said "what the heck". I am so glad I did – it was delicious! I e-mailed my business colleague yesterday asking him what the fish was and in his reply he linked to your post. I will make certain to visit the Grand Central Oyster Bar next June! (I am in NJ – an easy trip) Thanks for the tip on local herring!


    Robert on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published