Issue #65

Last Update August 31, 2009

Reviews Waterstone Grill by David Katz April 15, 2009 A few decades ago, the Wall Street area was a desert as far as good restaurants was concerned. This has changed radically. Stone street has become a pedestrian mall lined with cafes and restaurants. By far the best of these is the Waterstone Grill, located at 79 Pearl Street. This attractive bar and restaurant goes through between Pearl and Stone streets, and has a pleasing and roomy bar area with dining tables on the Pearl Street side, a dining room on the Stone Street side, and an upstairs dining room as well. In good weather, there is also outdoor dining on Stone Street’s cobblestoned mall. Waterstone Grill has all the elements to please the diner: a pleasant ambiance, attentive and efficient wait staff, and above all, a supremely talented chef. 

The menu is extensive, with a good selection of dinner salads, seafood, pasta, meat entrees, and a wrap and sandwich selection at lunch time. In addition to the a la carte menu there is a prix fixe luncheon, which includes appetizer or soup, choice among three special entrees, dessert, and a complimentary glass of wine or beer. There are also nightly dinner specials. Though not inexpensive, Waterstone Grill gives good value for the money. 

Regular menu items include a first rate seafood Cobb salad, an excellent seafood risotto (with lobster, calamari, baby shrimp, asiago cheese, shitake mushrooms and asparagus), really good and meaty barbequed baby back ribs, and at least five fish dishes, all of them fresh and well prepared. Where Executive Chef Chad Tibbetts outdoes himself, however, is the hoisin-flavored braised beef short ribs. This consists of a gigantic single rib, braised to incredible tenderness (you can just slide the bone out without cutting into the rib), yet retaining a pleasant firmness and, above all, an ambrosial flavor. Unfortunately for diners, this is not on the every-day menu. The chef seems to prepare it on random days (probably when the best ribs appear in the market). 

Other standout dishes are their gazpacho (in several forms, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes with crab or lobster, depending on what’s available) and the lobster bisque. The gazpacho is appropriately tangy and cooling, the bisque full-flavored. The fried calamari appetizer is crisp and not greasy, and comes with a well-flavored marinara sauce. With a salad, this is a meal in itself. The crab cake with Caesar or house salad also makes a satisfying meal and is rich in crabmeat. Even the sirloin burger is above ordinary; thick and juicy with a rich flavor. Also, on Tuesdays, there is a 1 ½ pound lobster at a miraculously inexpensive price ($19.95). 

There is a decent dessert selection (although my favorites, an excellent key lime pie and a hazelnut gateau, are no longer on the menu), and good coffee. 

Entrée prices range from $13 to $25, the luncheon prix fixe is $20 and the dinner prix fixe is $28. You can’t do better in the downtown area. 

This is the kind of restaurant that has regulars; that is, the service, quality of food and comfort encourage people to come back frequently. That, indeed, is the measure of a good restaurant.

Waterstone Grill, 79 Pearl Street, New York NY 212 943-1602 Fax:212 943-2426 

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