A New Jersey man eating lunch with a friend in New York got more than he bargained for when he found a pearl in his lunch at an oyster bar.
Rick Antosh, 66, bit into his pan roast at Grand Central Oyster Bar on December 5and found a pea-sized pearl that could be worth a nice chunk of change, according to Eddie Livi, owner of DSL Pearl on West 47th Street in Manhattan.
‘Value is based on luster, clarity and roundness,’ Livi told the New York Post, while examining a photo of the pearl.
‘It is not very round and has a black spot that may or may not be removable. [For] something in this condition, a dealer who really wants it, ballpark, may pay $2,000 to $4,000.’
That’s a pretty sweat deal for a meal that Antosh only paid $14.75 for.
Rick Antosh, 66, of Edgewater, New Jersey bit into his pan roast at Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City on December 5 and found a pea-sized pearl (pictured) that could be worth between $2,000 and $4,000
The Edgewater resident had come into the city to meet a high school friend for the afternoon meal.
He was initially concerned when he felt something hard in his mouth after taking a bite of his dish, which is prepared like a stew.
‘For a fraction of a second, there was terror,’ Antosh told the Post. ‘Is it a tooth; is it a filling?’
But it wasn’t a cause for alarm. The entree, which is prepared with six Blue Point oysters, simply came with an unexpected bonus in the form of a pearl.
The pearl was found in Antosh’s pan roast whichis prepared with Blue Point oysters that come to the restaurant pre-shucked from Virginia. A file photo of the pan roast is shown
Rick Antosh (pictured) said he didn’t think it was that odd at first
Antosh said he didn’t think it was that odd at first.
‘This isn’t Joe’s Steakhouse. It’s the most famous oyster place in the United States,’ he said. ‘I [assumed] it doesn’t happen often, but figured it happens at times.’
But after he got home, the retired hospitality consultant decided to call and ask the restaurant to see how often something like this does happen.
It turns out it doesn’t happen very often, at all.
‘I’ve been here 28 years,’ executive chef Sandy Ingber said. ‘This is only the second time I’ve seen this happen. And we sell over 5,000 oysters on the half shell every day.’
The bar uses oysters from Virginia that arrive pre-shucked to make its pan roast, he said, which makes it very unlikely that a pearl would make it to the restaurant, let alone into the dish.
‘It’s extremely rare, so that makes it interesting and exciting,’ Ingber said.
It’s also relatively uncommon for a pearl to grow to that size in an oyster under natural circumstances, because they’re often harvested for market before T
Pearls are created with foreign objects, like a piece of sand, make their way into the shell of an oyster.
The oyster forms the pearl around the irritant to protect the mollusk.
Matthew W. Gray, an oyster physiologist at the University of Maryland, said that pearl production in Eastern oysters is a bit of a mystery.
‘Among pearl producers, some species can produce a pearl that is the size of pea in less than one year; however, environmental and genetic factors play a role on the growth rate,’ Gray said.
‘The occurrence of natural pearls in oysters is not well understood, but anecdotally it has been estimated as 1 in 10,000.
The bar is is well known for featuring in Mad Men where Roger and Don shared a few lunchtime cocktails, causing Roger to throw up at the feet of Richard Nixon’s campaign staffers back at the office.
The executive chef at Grand Central Oyster Bar (shown) said that’s only ever happened one other time since he’s been there