If the toll COVID has taken on New York restaurants has been rough both on the industry and its customers, it has been downright devastating for the dozen or so landmark eateries that pepper the city, such as Keen’s Steakhouse and Gage & Tollner. These institutions, which are more than mere restaurants — Keen’s was a favorite of writer O. Henry — are in many cases a window into the city’s history.
Happily we are here to report that another centenarian eatery has returned from the dead. As the New York Post reports, the Grand Central Oyster Bar will reopen on Sept. 7 after 17 months in hibernation interrupted only by an early attempt at reopening last fall that was aborted after nine days.
This cavernous subterranean space with its vaulted brick ceilings is as much a feast for the eyes as the imponderable variety of oysters and fish species are for the appetite.
So far, no menu has been released. We can only hope that the signature oyster pan roast is still available. The singular dish is made in huge copper vats that plump up the oysters to the size and approximate shape of golf balls. The bivalves are finished in a combination of milk, cream, and butter.
Like Lazarus, Brooklyn Institution Gage & Tollner Rises from the Dead