June is the most sacred month of the year for lovers of Clupea harengus, which are more widely known as the Atlantic herring. That’s because June marks the arrival of the nieuwe maatjes, or new-catch herring, from Holland, and new-catch herring are to regular herring what a Birkin bag is to Le Sportsac. There are only two purveyors of new-catch Holland herring in the city — Russ & Daughters, which has sold new-catch for many years and last summer held a one-night herring extravaganza at the Robert Smith Hotel — and Grand Central Oyster Bar. The latter just announced that it will hold its own nieuwe maatjes festival from June 9 to June 25
The Oyster Bar will kick off its festivities at noon with an official first tasting hosted by the restaurant’s chef, Sandy Ingber. Its herring will come from Scheveningen, a resort on the North Sea that’s known for being home to the herring fleet, as well as a lighthouse, esplanade, and nudist beach. The fish will be available as $7 fillets and $7.95 orders of herring salad; Ingber is further whetting appetites by proclaiming that this year’s catch could be the best of a decade.