Had lunch there today with two old friends. I got there late. Stood there wildly scanning the dining room looking for the friends. Harassed staff rushed about completely ignoring me although I was probably in their way. Finally spotted friends and made my way over without assistance.
Grumpy waiter did not crack a smile or give a bugger about what we wanted. When I asked him if he would eat the fish and chips, he said no. suggested various things (most of them expensive). In the end I ordered a dozen Belon oysters and the swordfish (grilled). Also a glass of the house sauvignon blanc, as did one of the friends.
1. oysters and one glass of wine come. no sign of second glass. no. 2 waiter more ethnic and more obliging than no. 1. sent back for second glass.
2. oysters, big, fat, yummy, not too cold which I really like.
3. second glass of wine arrives.
4. shrimp caesar salad and plate of fried oysters arrive. shrimp huge and chilly. They must have cost about $3 each. oysters ok but my girlfriend chipped a filling on the several bits of oyster shell that had made their way into the frying. I guess at least that way we knew they weren't canned.
5. swordfish. total mistake. an incredibly measly piece of fish for the $25 or so it costs, cut too thin so that it was (surprise!) overcooked, dry and basically tasteless. accompanied by one (ONE!) small boiled potato, a few of those baby carrots that come ready-peeled at the supermarket, two tiny (marble-size) hothouse squash and two brussel sprouts, all steamed dully.
6. bill (also included a couple of cokes and cups of coffee): $150 with the $20 tip we were willing to go for considering how much we all hated our waiter.
7. Of course, he managed to come back in order to point out that I'd made a mistake adding it up and written $140 instead of $150.
My conclusion: There is really no reason to go except for the raw bar, and there are other places just as good for that. This is sad. It is still an amazing space, and of course Grand Central itself is ten times more beautiful than it used to be.