Joseph “Joey” Paulino, a 2007 "Top Chef” contender raised in Long Island, is an Italian American, non-kosher executive chef of The Wall Street Grill. One of the owners of the Fidi hotspot is a Muslim from Morocco; another is a Christian from Germany.
Many of the kitchen staff come from Mexico and the third partner, Steven Traube, is an Orthodox Ashkenazi Jew who says “I grew up in Staten Island so I’m basically Italian like my chef is.”
They figure that with that multi-cultural background, their restaurant is the perfect place to celebrate Jewish New Year, the year 5780, which starts this Sunday evening.
And the rooftop dining offered by the restaurant is bound to bring you closer to God said Traube, who has opened 19 other restaurants.
“Everything here is about family,” he says. “The restaurant business is about family. When the kitchen staff eats a meal together it’s called a family meal.
“We have very, very enjoyable customers who we’ve grown very close to," he adds. "We have customers who come in numerous times a week and we know their families, their children and grandchildren and we become family with them."
Traditionally, the New Year is spent in prayer, making personal reflections and listening to the shofar, the ram’s horn, played to announce 10 days of repentance.
“Rosh Hashanah is a time when Jews want to start in a positive way and there are many foods that make us want to feel like we are going into a sweet new year,” Traube says.
Customers who choose to celebrate at the Wall Street Grill will be treated to a three-course meal that can be eaten outdoors amid the skyscrapers.
The $120 per adult and $40 per child prix fixe meal, including wine for the grownups, is paid in advance, as no money can change hands during the Rosh Hashanah celebration.
While the typical Rosh Hashanah foods are apples dipped in honey or dates, the three-course meal at the restaurant is more intricate.
“Diners at the Wall Street Grill will be treated to a three-course meal that includes a mixed greens salad with roasted beets; roasted cauliflower with dried craisins, pistachio, pomegranate and a saffron tahini emulsion; lamb rib bites with pomegranate molasses, tangerine, ras el hanout, a spice mixture; a teriyaki-glazed brisket with roasted vegetables and honey olive oil cake with roasted apple puree, caramel sauce and apple ginger ice cream,” Traube says.
Traube touts the chef’s chicken soup, saying it’s the "best Jewish tasting chicken soup I’ve ever had in my life, besides my [wife’s]," he says.
“I don’t want to get into trouble,” he adds with a laugh.