The Joy of Pan Roast

pan roastIn 10 years and 500+ Strumings not one has been devoted to food. That streak is broken today, as this Struming is devoted to the joy of the pan roast…..not just any pan roast, but the ones served by the Oyster Bar located in Grand Central Station in Manhattan.

In Greek mythology nectar and ambrosia were supposedly food of the gods. Perhaps. If so, they never tried a Oyster Bar pan roast. What’s a pan roast, you say?

Here’s the background according to The Eater :

oyster barOpen since 1913, the Grand Central Oyster Bar is one of New York City’s most storied dining rooms. While the restaurant is widely known for its raw bar staffed by expert shuckers, there’s a dish that’s been on the menu since day one that has become one of New York City’s most iconic dishes, the oyster pan roast. Essentially a creamy stew, the pan roast is a seemingly simple dish that’s been on the menu since the restaurant opened 100 years ago. Its centerpiece: six perfectly cooked Blue Point oysters.

Executive chef Sandy Ingber says that while there’s not a record of the exact recipe from 1913, as far as he knows no major changes have been made to the pan roast. “I’ve been here for 24 years and it hasn’t changed,” he adds, noting that the traditional preparation is part of the dish’s staying power. “It’s a one of a kind, we were the only ones doing it for a long time.” Ingber estimates that the Oyster Bar sells an impressive 200 pan roasts a day for the simple reason that “it tastes really good.”

The oyster pan roast  is great, but I most often have the pan roast with scallops or Ipswich clams. No matter. They are all to die for.

I have to thank my long-time buddy, Lance Mald, for introducing me to the Oyster Bar and the pan roast. Back in the early 80s when we up and coming ad men at BBDO/New York, Lance took me to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central just a few blocks from BBDO’s NY office, then at 46th & Madison. We sat at the counter and he told me to order the pan roast. I was hooked. Since that day 35+ years ago I’ve been to the Oyster Bar 100+ times and 100+ times I’ve order a pan roast. Nothing like consistency.

kids at oyster barAnd the good news is that I’ve passed the tradition to our children, Carolyn and Carl, who both work in NYC. Our latest trip to the Oyster Bar was the past Monday evening, and it was unplanned. Monday evening was supposed to have been game 1 of the Yankees-Mets series at Yankees Stadium. It was a rainy day but the Yankees were determined to play. So determined that they let the fans arrive and then called the game 30 minutes before game time. Ugh.

Aggravated is a understatement, but then Carolyn suggested  we go the Oyster Bar. A quick subway on the 4 Train and we were there and we met Carl. (BTW it looked like many other fans did the same)

Going to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central is second only to going to Yankee Stadium, and they are a Yankees sponsor to boot.

whispering-galleryBy the way, when you are there, check out The Whispering Gallery right outside the restaurant “At the whispering gallery, four arched entryways stand in a square formation. And if you whisper something into the arch and someone else stands with their ear to the arch diagonal from yours about 30 feet away, they’ll be able to clearly hear what you said — despite both the distance and the tremendous noise common to Grand Central.”

But go for the pan roast. You will thank me later.

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