A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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The Oyster Bar

September 29th, 2004

Last week I was in Grand Central in New York City around lunchtime and thought I would revisit The Oyster Bar. This restaurant first opened in 1913, and is a New York institution. I had this hankering for fried oysters, and I thought this would be a sure bet. I had not been to The Oyster Bar for over 20 years, but I thought if any place should excel at oysters, this must be it. Walking into this restaurant you can’t help but be in awe of the famed vaulted tile ceiling designed by Raphael Guastavino. The décor of the restaurant is “no frills” . The seating area to the left of the doorway has red checkered tablecloths. To the right is a simple linoleum countertop similar to a luncheonette. I thought it was a retro look, and it gave me the impression that the restaurant’s primary concern was not ambiance, but was about serving the best fresh seafood.

After a bit of a wait I received the menu, and as anticipated, it offered a wide selection of oysters and other seafood. I ordered the fried oysters that I had been craving. I also asked for a glass of Gruner Veltliner. The waitress asked “which wine?” Then she asked “what number is it?” My enthusiasm now plummeted very rapidly, as expectation was being overshadowed by reality.

The bottom line is that the oysters were barely better than the frozen ones you can buy at a supermarket, and the service was poor at best. What a shame!

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