There’s something very right about quaffing oysters aboard a boat. Or wrong, depending on the way you look at it. Something about a return to the water. But Grand Banks doesn’t give you too long to dwell on it – it’s all luxury, all the time here. You see, Grand Banks is an oyster bar happily placed on a historic hand-built wooden schooner (named Sherman Zwicker) docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park.
Offering panoramic views of New York, including its harbour, this is the place for a sundowner. Lest you think that it’s all about the surroundings, rest assured – they’ve polished the food menu as much as Sherman’s timber. Oysters are, of course, high up on the list of tasting priorities, with a selection of wild-caught, sustainably harvested bivalves from both coasts (though the list changes daily), as well as a particularly good showing of local Atlantic species. But Executive Chef Kerry Heffernan has crafted a seasonal menu of largely fish-forward small plates, that are sure to tempt any landlubber to life at sea.
There’s the Maine lobster roll with a herb, lemon, dulse emulsion, boat-made pickles, rocket and shaved fennel. An heirloom tomato and watermelon salad served with coconut oil, mint, thai basil and shiso. And buttermilk-dipped fried soft shell crab with a piquant dressing of cornichons and lemon, served with green beans, and fiddlehead ferns. The brunch menu introduces all manner of lip-smacking goodness in the form on French toast and the Southern-style griddled eggs and heirloom grits with cheddar cheese and Andouille sausage.
As any good sailor knows, it’s important to know the drinks situation before getting on board. In a tip of the cap to the sea-faring setting, the cocktail menu features many a nautical nod, like the refreshing Skipper Key, which is made with rosé, strawberry, cucumber, lemon, and seltzer. But there’s also a curated selection of wine and beer on draught. It’s happy sailing ahead; well, it’s close enough.