Jacqueline’s dish was a classical preparation of fresh crab meat in a white sauce with mushrooms, green peppers, pimientos, and a taste of Sherry. Jacqueline announced that there was also an addition of Parmesan, not authorized by THE GOURMET COOKBOOK, and I held my breath, but after a moment’s deliberation she pronounced it “very good, excellent.” It was served with a salad of beets, watercress, chicory, tomatoes, radishes, and “French” dressing.
Because it was lunch, we settled for a carafe of Alsatian Riesling, but there is a wine list which, if it does not specify vintages, at least has enough well-known names (Kayser, Blue Nun, Barton & Guestier, et cetera) to guarantee quality.
“It’s a nice place, like something in an old-fashioned hotel,” Jacqueline said.
“It’s downright Byzantine,” I said approvingly, looking at the arrangement of glazed beige brick in a pattern of low domes and arches. (There is a modern note struck by gray, yellow, and salmon fabric panels along the walls, hung with oil paintings of various kinds.) “That cook, Nick Petters, might have designed it himself, fresh off the boat from the Piraeus.”
We were concluding our meal with excellent coffee, only I having selected anything—a lemon sherbet—from the many dessert offerings. It was a good meal, and certainly not expensive. Entrees at lunch are mostly in the $2 to $3 range, with only steaks reaching the $5 to $6 category. At dinner, many of the prices are the same, but about half of them advance an average of less than 50 cents. Appetizers (ranging from 45 cents, for a half grapefruit or juice, to $1.95, for lobster cocktail), soups (50 to 75 cents), and desserts (50 to 95 cents) are the same at both meals. There is a businessmen’s lunch (soup or appetizer, meat or fish with potatoes and vegetable, dessert, and beverage) for $2.85, and table d’hôte dinners (one more course, and more variety than at lunch), from $4.10 to $5.75.
Such a complex operation as The Oyster Bar has a rather complicated schedule. The dining room is open Mondays through Fridays only, from 11:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. On those days the lunch counter ( which serves breakfast) opens at 7 A.M., the oyster bar at 9 A.m., and the bar and cocktail lounge at 10—all to close at 11:30 P.M.; on Saturdays and Sundays these same facilities operate from noon to 8 P.M. (except for the bar and cocktail lounge on Sunday, when they open at 1). Telephone Circle 6-5800 for reservations.