A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 21, 2004
Oyster Pan Roast
"Oyster Pan Roast" is most famously served in New York City at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal. The Oyster Bar has been a New York institution since 1913.

"Oyster Pan Roast" pre-dates the Oyster Bar, however, and may have been popular in Coney Island hotels of the 1880s and 1890s.

13 May 1900, Brooklyn Eagle, pg. 14:
15c. -- Pan roast of Oysters on Toast.

16 September 1900, Brooklyn Eagle, pg. 12:
OYSTER PAN ROAST, toast 15.

17 November 1917, Indianapolis (IN) Star, pg. 20, col. 5:
HOFBRAU CAFE
New York Oyster Pan Roast 40c

18 December 1949, Los Angeles Times, pg. H21:
Nothing, New Yorkers insist,
can beat the bivalve dishes
in Grand Central Oyster Bar
(...) The bar opened in 1913 as the first Union News restaurant.
(...)
Oyster Pan Roast
4 dozen oysters
1/2 pound butter or margarine
6 tablespoons chili sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups oyster liquor
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup light cream
Salt to taste

Place oysters in a deep pan. Dot over butter or margarine, add sauces, lemon juice and oyster liquor and seasonings; bring to boiling point and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add cream and bring to boiling point. Salt to taste. Serve over toast square in soup plates. Yield: 6 portions.

1 August 1974, New York Times, pg. 32:
Grand Central Oyster Bar Shut, but May Reopen Soon
(...)
Nick Petter, the 76-year-old head cook, who came to work there in 1919, said the bar had never changed. With a sad smile, he gave permission to publish the recipe for its famous oyster stew:

OYSTER PAN ROAST
8 freshly opened oysters
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A few drops of lemon juice
1/4 cup oyster liquor
Celery salt, a dash
Paprika
4 ounces cream
1 piece of dry toast (if desired)

Place all but the cream in a deep pan and cook briskly for a minute, stirring constantly. Add cream. When it comes to boil, pour over toast in a soup plate and serve.

23 May 1985, Dallas Morning News, pg. 14E:
Since the Grand Central Oyster Bar opened its doors in 1913, smart commuters and diners have filled the enormous rooms of this landmark institution to sample the best in fresh seafood. The team that maintains the restaurant's fine reputation, Chef Stanley Kramer, Pastry Chef Peter Roggensinger and George Morfogen, seafood buyer, share their secrets when they appear on New York's Master Chefs at noon Saturday on Channel 13/KERA.

Kramer prepared his famous Oyster Pan Roast, fresh oysters simmered in their own juices with cream, a favorite among many New Yorkers, and Mako Shark Steak au Poivre.
(...)
OYSTER PAN ROAST

Prepare each serving separately.

2 tablespoons clam broth or juice
2 tablespoons ( 1/4 stick) butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus some for garnish
Pinch of celery salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
9 shucked oysters with their liquor
1 to 2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/2 cup half and half
1 slice toast

In top of double boiler, place clam broth, 1 tablespoon of the butter, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, celery salt and Worcestershire sauce; stir gently. Add oysters and simmer just until their edges start to curl, about 1 minute. Stir in chili sauce and half and half and heat through.

Place slice of toast in warm bowl, pour oyster pan roast over toast, and float remaining tablespoon butter on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of paprika. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

10 November 1999, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, pg. 02F:
For R.B., Newark, Ohio. This is the recipe from the Oyster Bar at Grand Central. Molly O'Neill included it in her New York Cookbook (Workman Publishing, $17.95).

6-8 large fresh oysters
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons bottled clam juice, divided
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash celery salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 slice white bread, toasted
Dash sweet paprika

Shuck the oysters. Strain and reserve their liquor.

Melt butter in a nonreactive skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the oysters, their liquor and 2 tablespoons clam juice.

Cook until oysters just begin to curl around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small nonreactive saucepan over high heat, whisk together hot pepper and Worcestershire sauces, celery salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon clam juice.

Whisk in the heavy cream and continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil.

Add the warm oysters and their cooking liquids; stir gently 1 minute.

Place the toast in a wide soup bowl. Pour the pan roast over the toast and sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

Cindy Moran
Westerville
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, November 21, 2004 • Permalink