Although we are at the peak time of native New Yorkers vacating the city in search of more greenery and waterside locales, a restaurant on the Lower East Side brings all of the tastes and aesthetics of New England island life to Manhattan. Grey Lady, located on Delancey and Allen is a beautiful bar and restaurant that provides a perfect escape to Nantucket without leaving the comforts of the island of Manhattan. This little haven provides an inviting atmosphere, a beautifully designed interior space, and offers fresh and delicious food. What else could you ask for?
If you come for dinner before 7pm during the week, Grey Lady offers a raw oyster special, where you can order 1 for a dollar – basically an oyster happy hour. Although the oysters change seasonally, you can count on the fact that the selection will be extremely fresh and well-chosen. If raw oysters don’t really suit your tastes, there is a whole host of other options. From lobster rolls to fish and chips to a mouth-watering burger, you will undoubtedly find something amazing at Grey Lady.
Why so Fresh?
Executive chef Gavin McLaughlin has done an incredible job curating the menu. The offerings are basics in theory, yet they manage to be interesting and delicious. An important detail of note is that According to the restaurant’s website, Gavin spent a significant amount of time in the catering industry. It was during this time in his career that he developed many contacts within the industry presumably while refining his cooking skills . The strongest remaining tie to this catering past is through the wonderful contacts that Gavin and the Grey Lady maintain with local farmers and seamen. These professional relationships enable Grey Lady to provide such fresh and local offerings to the customers every day.
Although Grey Lady isn’t that big, it’s a great use of a somewhat narrow space. When you first enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a hostess and then led to a table or the bar, depending on what you came in for. Although the space is small, it doesn’t feel crowded, and even when it is completely full, you are somehow able to still have a private conversation with your tablemates without feeling too distracted by the conversations around you. The walls are filled with a chalkboard and subtle nautical touches. Not surprisingly, wood features prominently in the furniture and the overall look of the place, but the huge glass doors leading outside keep the indoors from feeling too dark.
What to Order
Grey Lady is known for the lobster roll, which can be ordered hot or cold, depending on what you prefer. Our table ordered a couple of lobster rolls, the crab cakes and the raw oysters. The lobster roll is a must-pick if you make the trip to Grey Lady. The crab cakes were also delicious, but very rich. I’m glad I stuck with a large order of raw oysters, and will definitely be back soon to order that again.
The service was friendly, efficient and attentive and should be commended for that. I did not explore the wine menu that night, but the pairings looked perfectly nice. However, Grey Lady is also known for their carefully curated mixed drink selection. Regardless of what you order to eat or drink, you have something great to look forward to.