The famed oyster restaurant said it doesn't happen as often as you might think

By Mike Pomranz
December 18, 2018
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Santa Claus may not be real (my apologies to any 6-year-olds who are reading this), but apparently 'tis the season for gift-giving oysters. A diner at New York City's legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar recently revealed that he found a pearl in his oyster dish that could be worth as much as $4,000.

Rick Antosh told the New York Post he was meeting an old high-school buddy for lunch on December 5 at the century-old restaurant located in the cavernous underbelly of Grand Central Station and ordered his usual pan roast, a stew-like dish that includes six oysters. While enjoying the $14.75 meal, the 66-year-old noticed something rolling around in his mouth, and as anyone his age would probably do, he immediately wondered if his body was falling apart. "For a fraction of a second, there was terror," Antosh said. "Is it a tooth; is it a filling?"

Actually, it was more like an approximately 200-times return on his $15 lunch investment: The object was determined to be a pea-sized pearl that one expert suggested would probably be worth in the ballpark of between $2,000 and $4,000.

At the time, Antosh said he apparently didn't think much of the find, but when he later phoned up the Grand Central Oyster Bar to discuss the incident, he learned just how uncommon finding any sort of pearl in one of their dishes really is. "I've been here 28 years," executive chef Sandy Ingber told the Post, "This is only the second time I've seen this happen. And we sell over 5,000 oysters on the half shell every day."

Despite speculation on the price based off photos, Antosh says he hasn't yet had his pearl officially appraised. But he's already wondering if lightning could strike twice. "I will definitely come back and try to find more pearls," he was quoted as saying. "You never know." Uh, that sounds a bit ambitious. Maybe trying panning for gold in the East River instead?

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