Last week I went to Raleigh for a workshop, which gave me another opportunity to stop at a favorite restaurant. When downtown, I always stop at the 42nd Street Oyster Bar. I realize there are many dining options in downtown Raleigh, but it’s hard to find good seafood in North Carolina. There are seafood options on menus, but it’s typically a grilled salmon with no creativity or something fried.
At 42nd Street, there is something for everyone! Your food can be steamed, broiled, grilled, or fried. If someone in your party doesn’t like seafood, there are many options including steak, chicken, salads, and pasta. Personally, I like to get the Oyster Rockefeller appetizer and a 42nd Street potato.
The only way I will eat an oyster is if it’s baked with other stuff. I don’t normally like spinach either, but somehow the combination of the two in Oyster Rockefeller is a great dish! Of course, the 42nd Street potato is a specialty of the restaurant. I can only describe it as mashed potatoes seasoned with butter, sour cream, and other secrets baked in a small tin then topped with cheddar cheese. Normally, I don’t focus on side dishes in a restaurant, but let’s just say there’s a reason I order an appetizer instead of an entrée. I have to save room for that potato!
42nd Street is special because you get foods that you cannot experience anywhere else. Oyster Rockefeller sounds common enough, but it’s actually hard to find. People always try to put a personal spin on baked oysters and get away from the classics. 42nd Street offers their own variety of oysters as well, but Oyster Rockefeller is a staple on their menu, which it should be at any good seafood restaurant.
I’ve found that there is also a misconception about 42nd Street in that it’s too pricey. Yes, it does have some higher priced options because fresh, well-prepared seafood doesn’t come cheap but, there are many options on the menu that are easy on the wallet. My parents and I ate for a total of $50, which is right in line with most chain restaurants, plus we received a wonderful experience. It does have a full service bar, so that will definitely raise the bill quickly if you drink.
Depending on the crowd, it can get a little tight navigating through the tables if you’re in a wheelchair, but it is accessible. The bar area is not accessible, but there is a ramp to the seating area. I like to sit near the ramp if at all possible just so I won’t have to ask other patrons to move while they are trying to eat.
The staff is great! One problem I have at restaurants is the waiter asking my parents for my order. To all the waitresses out there, that act takes $1.00 off your tip. I start at 20% and keep a tally. If the restaurant is too noisy then I make an exception because I’m not loud. I’ve never had this problem with the 42nd Street staff. They are always respectful and will kneel down to be sure they hear me. If they didn’t hear, they ask me to repeat myself. They even call me Sir! I feel so grown up there!
Overall, I recommend 42nd Street Oyster Bar to everyone. It’s classy enough that it’s great for a date, but it’s also relaxed enough for a casual dinner with friends. If you’re in downtown Raleigh, give them a chance. Mention you went there because of my blog and tell them I deserve a gift card!