14 oysters (raw, on the half shell)
5 baked oysters, topped with diced bacon and some sort of Worcestershire sauce
2/3rds of a side of french fries
$15 (including tax and tip)
If I had to guesstimate the volume of food I ate at Bondi Road‘s unbelievable Thursday “Craw Bar” night in the Lower East Side, that’s the list, more or less — and being an oyster newbie I was one of the lighter eaters.
With a little encouragement — along the lines of, “Could we get some more shrimp?” and, “Could we put in an order for those baked oysters?” — the kitchen certainly wasn’t stingy on the mains. Each time, the oyster tray came back stacked heavier, and so did the shrimp. (There were five of us making this our dinner, after all.)
Some of my friends were taking advantage of Bondi Road’s (in)famous drink special — $20 all-you-can-drink for 2 hours — and all in all, food and booze flowing, we were poised for success.
But then, there was a hiccup. Intentionally or otherwise, Bondi Road on this night was unbelievably stingy with their sauce. Cocktail sauce, fresh horseradish, ketchup (which never came) … it became such a joke at the table that we started speculating conspiracy-theory style about the stinginess with the sauce.
Theory no. 1: This was the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat exit strategy: Serve them huge platters of seafood with the puniest portions of sauce imaginable, ignore their requests for more until they are infuriated and leave.
Theory #2: The sauce that’s served with the shrimp (of which we got two tiny, half-filled containers no matter whether there were a dozen shrimp or 20 shrimp in the bowl) is imported from Australia, which justifies the rationing.
(In actuality, we’re pretty sure it was just cocktail sauce whipped with mayonnaise for a creamier texture, dolled out into these disposable condiment cups during prep hours earlier — which only deepens the mystery of why the server couldn’t just grab a couple of extras from the kitchen in less time than it took us to finish the shrimp, reluctantly, anyway …)
The conclusion: Still a killer deal, the quality’s decent (for the price, spectacular). Bring your own sauce — or be prepared to eat some seafood in the buff.
TIP: Go early. The five of us were seated immediately and served quickly at 6:45pm, and the restaurant had a line out the door by the time we left. Plus, the 2-hour drink special makes for an excellent kick-off to a Thursday night out.