42nd Street Oyster Bar
If you haven’t been to 42nd Street Oyster Bar, and you enjoy fresh seafood, you are missing out. This establishment sits at 508 W. Jones St., in Raleigh NC, the same location it has held since 1931. It looks like a place that roared with upper crust Raleighites back in the day and makes me want to put on my Sunday best ever time I go. A friend of mine recently pointed out that it tends to have a bit of a cougar-y vibe at the bar, so men…beware! Or enjoy. I’m not here to judge.
Overall: 5 out of 5 Stars
Service: 5 out of 5
Food: 5 out of 5
Ambiance: 4 out of 5
Value: 5 out of 5
The best place to sit is right at the oyster bar! This is the only spot in the whole joint where you can order pecks of steamed oysters – and the cool thing is, they shuck them right in front of you. Parts of the bar are formed into what they refer to as Islands (we call them peninsulas), which is very cool if you are with a group of 4 or 5, because you can see your whole party and talk to everyone without having to crane your neck around the person next to you. Most likely, you will have to wait for your table, so pony up to a bar table and order yourself some buffalo oysters and a drink.
42nd street has an extensive beer menu, good local selections on tap and plenty of wine and liquor options as well. The cocktail list isn’t my favorite in town, however they can make just about anything you want. I pair oysters with bourbon and was thrilled to find they serve Blanton’s and Woodford Reserve.
Moving on to our peninsula. As we sat down, we were served a basket of hush puppies.
Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and served with a side of butter. This is how hush puppies should be made. They.Are.Perfect. Other restaurants should study these hush puppies, that’s how good they are.
On this particular night, the oysters were extremely flavorful and very large.
The peck of oysters is served with a side of cole slaw and three dipping sauces – horseradish, ketchup and clarified butter. Exactly as they should be. On top of that, our oyster shucker was fantastic! He had a great sense of humor, joked with us, and was able to talk while he shucked.
Each visit I’ve paid to 42nd street has left me satisfied. One year, for Christmas, my family decided we would go as a group. When I say “group,” I mean all 16 of us caravanned there to sit at one table for dinner. This was the only time I’ve ordered a meal there instead of just oysters. Everyone in the party was thrilled with what they ordered. The fish dishes were cooked very well, using only fresh catches, and were served at the same time by an extremely pleasant waitress.
I will absolutely return to 42nd street for oysters, dinner, drinks or for a full meal anytime I am invited.