Wall Street Grille: Upscale. Casual. Affordable.
By Kathy Patrick ~
I shamelessly copied those words directly from the Wall Street Grille website because they perfectly describe this wonderful restaurant on South Wall Street in downtown Calhoun. Serving excellent food in a casual and welcoming atmosphere at affordable prices is a very hard act to pull off, but owner Eddie Yap and his team consistently manage to do exactly that.
Eddie is no stranger to the restaurant world. A native of Malaysia, he immigrated to the USA at age 18. His career began in Manhattan when he was in his late teens and by age 22 he opened his first restaurant, a burger/wing joint in uptown Manhattan. He loved his restaurant, as well as a certain young cashier who worked there for a summer job. Before long, Eddie decided to follow that cashier to Georgia, where they married. Now with two children, three Okinawa restaurants, Rome’s Blue Fin restaurant, Wing Me Up restaurant in Calhoun, and Wall Street Grille, Eddie is definitely a happy Georgia resident. Eddie says, “Call me crazy, but the restaurant business is a passion for me.” Indeed, the man is crazy about providing great food.
Wall Street Grille’s dinner menu has something for everyone. For appetizers we sampled the amazing Single Crab Cake and the Three Cheese Sidewinder Fries with Bacon. The crab cake was every bit as good as, or even better than, the crab cakes we had eaten the week before in Apalachicola, FL. There was very little other than sweet crab meat in the cakes and the house made remoulade sauce was the perfect complement to the crab. The Sidewinder Fries were the very definition of comfort food: sort of like steak fries cut into twisty crisps, the texture was a cross between thick potato chips and mashed potatoes. Top all that goodness with three cheeses and some bacon and it’s hard to imagine a more delicious or soothing food.
Wall Street’s steaks are reasonably priced, terrifically tender, and thoroughly tasty. The meat is sourced from Georgia farms and is hand-cut in-house each day (the fish is hand-cut in the restaurant as well). We sampled the rib eye steak which was very nicely marbled, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and perfectly grilled. The accompanying mashed potatoes were scrumptious with delectable soft buttery lumps, and delicious sautéed green beans rounding out the dish.
My husband really enjoyed the Blackened Chicken Alfredo, which is quite a compliment as he is not usually a “sauce-y” kind of eater. The seasoning on the chicken was full of flavor but not overwhelming, while the Alfredo sauce was creamy and thick with a nice hint of spice. The Grilled Salmon, a signature entrée, was flaky and moist with a nice lemon dill sauce, again impeccably cooked.
Dessert did not disappoint. The chocolate mousse served in a martini glass with chocolate sauce and whipped cream was a chocolate lover’s dream. I personally am not a fan of creamy desserts like flan or crème brûlée, so imagine my surprise when I absolutely loved Wall Street’s crème brûlée. It was light and creamy with a wonderfully caramelized topping, and I had mixed good/bad feelings about myself after eating a whole lot of it.
Wall Street Grille has a full bar, a nice selection of wine, beers, and craft cocktails including the North Georgia Apple which is the closest thing to biting into an apple via a straw you’ll ever taste. The Sweet Georgia Peach Sangria was perfectly peachy and wonderfully refreshing. You can sample these and other drinks in the relaxed dining room, or in the piano lounge where you can hear live local musicians tickle the keys Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The piano was Eddie’s idea. He says when you walk into a restaurant or bar in Manhattan, you always see a piano. Soon after he bought the Wall Street Grille property, he added the piano.
Live music isn’t the only art form in Wall Street Grille. The walls are lined with paintings and drawings from regional artists and most are for sale. You can view local art from your dining table, a seat in the piano lounge, or on the gallery wall on the way to the “necessary room.” There’s also a “Paint and Chill at the Wall Street Grille” night where you can enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers while making your own artistic creations. Check their website www.wallstreetgrille.com for dates and times.
A large part of the restaurant’s success falls to manager Sherri Zentz and Chef Jeremy Thomas. Sherri has been working with Eddie in his restaurants since 2001; she stresses the importance of great training for the staff to provide professional, efficient, and polite service. Jeremy came to Wall Street Grille in 2016 after attending culinary school in Chattanooga and then working as a chef for several years at Ruth Chris Steak House where he learned the particulars of fine dining. Today, Jeremy’s flair for upscale cuisine and his innovative twists on classic Southern dishes allow guests to enjoy delicious meals in Wall Street’s casual setting at an reasonable price.
Wall Street Grille’s inviting lobby area, wonderful display of local art, its cozy laidback décor, the live piano music, fun painting parties, and wonderful service all combine with fantastic food to make Calhoun’s Wall Street Grille a gem of a restaurant. Wall Street Grille definitely lives up to its mission of providing upscale dining in a casual atmosphere, all for an affordable price. Eddie, crazy as he is about the restaurant business, lives up to his passion for providing great food!