Luck Be a Grey Lady Tonight
If you are ever at the intersection of Delancey and Allen in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, stop.
Look for an old-school neon red sign that reads "OYSTER BAR" on the Southeast corner. Find the front door (on Allen). Proceed into Grey Lady with a good appetite.
You know what? I haven't written about a good oyster bar in awhile. They are a dying breed in NYC, despite the explosion of oyster happy hours. So why visit Grey Lady?
Going Beyond the Average Oyster Bar
The appeal of Grey Lady, for me anyway, isn't just about their tasty oysters, divine cocktails, satisfying food, and great location. Those are table stakes nowadays. Grey Lady has become a passionate facilitator of oyster culture of this city. I've found myself many times at Grey Lady for oyster-filled get togethers, oyster launch parties, oyster classes, oyster eating & shucking competitions, and even for my own inaugural New York New Year Oyster Crawl. Grey Lady is also one of the participating restaurants in Billion Oyster Project's shell collection program for NY Harbor oyster reef restoration.
In short, they give a shuck.
A Focused and Thoughtful Oyster Program
From an oyster offering aspect, they've got a secret weapon as well. Grey Lady is still the only destination in NYC, that I know of, that features beautiful farm-raised oysters from Nantucket on their menu on a consistent basis. If you've never had Nantucket oysters, do yourself a favor and put it on your "to slurp" list. They source a conservative, but high-quality selection of East Coast varietals directly from growers and charge $3/ea. You're not going to find a list of 12+ names here, because not just any oyster will do. In fact, Partner and Executive Chef Gavin McLaughlin lured me in years ago with the then-elusive Johns Rivers from Maine when no one else in the city carried them (pictured above with the Painkiller cocktail sans rum).
My Ideal Grey Lady Outing
Dropping by during happy hour (Sun-Fri, 4-7PM $1 oysters, $6 beer, $8 wine, $9 wells) for two dozen Nantucket / Johns River oysters, paired a sparkling rosé, and then continuing on for a light first course dinner. Cannot go wrong with the bacon wrapped scallops or peekytoe crab toast, when in season!
77 Delancey Street
New York, NY