Clam Chowder at Grand Central's Oyster Bar, One of NYC's Best Soups for 98 Years

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No. 22 of our 100 Days/100 Dishes count-up, and white like library paste, the Oyster Bar's New England clam chowder is one of the glories of Yankee cooking.


Though not really part of New England (you have to go a few miles northeast to Connecticut to be part of that sainted realm), NYC can boast one of the best Yankee restaurants in the world -- the Oyster Bar on the lower level of Grand Central Station.

Sit at the snaking lunch counter and enjoy the dishes the Oyster Bar is famous for -- including shellfish pan roasts, creamy and lightly kissed with ketchup, cooked up in a strange steaming contraption as you watch; raw oysters from the East and West Coasts in a profusion of varieties; the freshest raw sea urchin of any place in town, served in its bumpy green shell; and a pair of competing chowders -- New England-style, cream-based; and the red, Italian-inspired article, sometimes known as Manhattan clam chowder.

Sorry, but I'd go for the New England variety any day of the week. Relatively inexpensive, it's dotted with chopped clams (more than you'd expect or maybe feel like you deserve), plus cubed potatoes and a whiff of bacon. The broad bowl comes sided with oyster crackers in unlimited numbers, in addition to a tiny biscuit, and a few lavash -- which must be a fairly recent addition, but very satisfactory nonetheless.


Oyster Bar
Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd Street
212-490-6653


100 Days/100 Dishes is an almost-random alphabetical collection of delicious dishes from around the five boroughs. See the entire series so far.


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2 comments
wineman
wineman

While I agree that Grand Central's Oyster Bar is one of the great things about NYC, I can't agree with the the assessment of the New England clam chowder. I happened to have it this past Saturday for lunch and found it bland and served too cold. That said, not so good NE clam chowder beats good Manhattan clam chowder any day of the week.

mj
mj

the move is to get half white half red. i prefer to get it from the sort of secret take out window. it's incredible.

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