Recent pandemic times led many restaurants to reassess their outdoor seating. This meant improvising for some and expanding and/or improving for others. But some restaurants got to show off and utilize amazing al fresco dining set-ups that they already had.
One of those lucky places was Wall Street Grill. With an amazing second-floor rooftop in Manhattan that includes covered and uncovered terraces, WSG became an even greater destination for the upscale kosher diner than it had been before COVID.
Now that many more people are back in their offices downtown, WSG recently decided to start offering a lunch menu. Their lunch hours have seating exclusively on the rooftop of the restaurant, unless someone specifically asks for one of the private rooms downstairs that are great for larger groups.
When I was invited to check out the new lunch menu, I was very impressed by the ambiance. Though I had heard of how unique the space was, you really need to see it in person to appreciate it fully. The tables and chairs are chic enough to denote the quality of the restaurant while still feeling at home in the laid back outdoor atmosphere. With a mix of tile and turf underfoot, you’ll admire the time spent to create the environment.
The first section of the menu offers a few salad options with the possibility of adding various proteins. This can easily be used as a nice starter, or upgraded to a full meal if you add to the base of your choice.
Next are the appetizers. While some of these are soups or fish, it should be noted that the meat options in this portion of the menu are more like appetizers to share with the rest of your party. If eaten by a single person, they are each easily a lunch meal on their own.
The first of these is General Kame’s Crispy Chicken ($29). Perhaps the most interesting version of poppers that I’ve encountered, WSG serves this meal in a large bowl with a layer of guacamole at the bottom. Then comes a hearty portion of teriyaki-glazed poppers, followed by a drizzle of spicy buffalo aioli on top. If this is being divided amongst a group, one can surely choose if they want just the chicken (great on its own), or if they want the guacamole, buffalo aioli or both to go with it. Whichever way you prefer, you’ll be pleased with this choice.
Next up is my strongest recommendation: Crispy Thai Beef ($32). You’re unlikely to get anything like these marinated and crusted strips of flat iron anywhere else. Also a sizable portion, they are served with two dipping sauces for different tastes (a spicy thai chili and a tangy bourbon sriracha BBQ sauce). While the underlying saltiness will strike some at first, the sauces provided compliment the beef perfectly. The real attraction here is the texture of the beef, as it’s sliced thin enough to easily bite through, but has an impressive crunch on the outside.
Like many restaurants, the main section of the lunch special is sandwiches. Unlike some places, the steak sandwich on their menu isn’t made from whatever steak they had lying around. When you order the Steak Sandwich ($39) at WSG, they ask you how you want the steak cooked because they are taking a 6-ounce cut and making it just for you. It’s been marinated in chimichurri and rubbed with adobo before being sliced and put on ciabatta with avocado, charred peppers and onions, and salsa verde. Most impressive is that even if you order it medium rare, the steak’s preparation allows you to bite through the slices without the whole sandwich coming apart in your hands (we’ve all been there).
Many people will walk in and just want a burger. And while you could opt for the more regular burger, I’d suggest the WSG Dry Aged Burger ($42). This colossal burger is a mixture of dry aged and fresh prime beef topped with short rib, guacamole and onion marmalade. The mixture of different textures works well and the flavors combine to be one of the best burgers you’ll ever taste, even if it is predictably hard to hold in your hand.
There’s also a section for the purest of protein eaters that includes fish, chicken and steak. Though these kinds of things are also available if you come to WSG for dinner, it may be the way you want to go. Like the sandwiches, all the options come with a side of fries, plus a small portion of vegetables.
Getting dessert may be a treat that only some will opt for in the middle of the work day, but if a sweet tooth is your thing, it’s going to be hard for you to resist some of the delicious creations on the menu. The standout of the bunch is the Choux au Craquelin ($14). This is a trio of perfectly light zeppolis that come with a chocolate dipping sauce. Vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel creams await you inside the delicate dough, and each is good enough to have been the filling for all three.
All in all, WSG’s lunch hours are a great place for a quick lunch meeting or to meet a friend who works somewhere nearby. You’ll feel the vision of Chef Joseph Paulino throughout the menu (especially if you order the special soup and/or sandwich he creates every day) and it will make your lunch feel like a well-deserved break instead of a mere afterthought.
Nati Burnside is a freelance writer living in Fair Lawn and is a man of many interests. He can be reached at [email protected]
Wall Street Grill
Meat - New American Cuisine -
Lunch from 12:00-2:30
Dinner from 5:00-10:30
128 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10005
Orthodox Union (OU)