August 14, 2008 / 4:00 PM / in 11 years

It's Christmas in August at NYC's Oyster Bar

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Retailers are known for expanding the holiday season in the hopes of spurring sales, but restaurants?

New York City’s landmark Oyster Bar — located in the bowels of Grand Central station — hosted a Christmas celebration this week beneath its vaulted and tiled ceiling for magazine editors.

“Everybody could use a little Christmas, especially in this heat,” said John Cirillo, a spokesman for the Oyster Bar.

It was a chance for the restaurant’s executive chef, Sandy Ingber, to practice for the two weeks before Dec 25th when the restaurant serves a seven-course fish dinner, Cirillo explained.

The dinner also provided the editors, some of whom have four-month lead times before their publications hit the stands, a chance to include the Oyster Bar in their magazines.

“You cannot imagine my surprise,” one grinning diner said. “I came in and suddenly there’s a tree. There are elves. It’s August.”

Italian families traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Ingber explained.

Each of the dishes, from Pasta e Fagiole with seared Day Boat Sea Scallop to Bacala Amalfi-style over rice pilaf, were paired with a wine from Schramsberg vintners of Napa Valley, California.

“It’s a great way to beat the heat,” Ingber said.

Reporting by Leslie Gevirtz, editing by Paul Casciato

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