You know you have a good friend when you can pick up right where you left off even after a number of months or years apart. As is such with one of my best friends, Liz. We were roommates and sorority sisters back in college, but now only get to see each other about once per year since she lives in sunshiny LA.
During her recent visit to New York, we simultaneously agreed that a much-needed catch-up sesh must occur during brunch, naturally. I wanted to take her somewhere special and quintessentially New York, and remembered that the Gallow Green rooftop had just opened for the summer season. They invited us to come in and sample the brunch so this meal was on the house. Perfect!
Gallow Green is located atop Sleep No More’s McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. I loved the immersive theater experience so much that I’ve actually attended Sleep No More twice in the past year, but had never made it to the rooftop at Gallow Green. Much like the McKittrick Hotel, Gallow Green is shrouded in mystery as diners are quietly escorted up a silent elevator to a dark train station. Finally, we emerged in a lush, secret garden-esque rooftop.
The rooftop was incredibly beautiful. Every last detail was perfect, from the live jazz band to the quaint teacups and purposely overgrown shrubbery. We were treated to unbeatable 360-degree city views under sunny skies.
Our friendly server, who was dressed in twentieth century garb in true McKittrick Hotel fashion, quickly ushered us to our table. For a $50 fixed price, diners can eat and drink to their hearts’ delight with unlimited mimosas, Bellinis, Bloody Marys, coffee, and food from the buffet. I normally despise buffets, but the spread at Gallow Green is refreshed every few minutes making the dishes more a la minute. You won’t see any tubs of lukewarm scrambled eggs here.
As a warning, it does get breezy on the rooftop and poor Liz was shivering since she was still used to LA weather. We were fine once outfitted with thick blankets and steaming hot coffee, and a few mimosas didn’t hurt either. We needed to fuel up for our hours of gossiping and gabbing so we immediately grabbed our plates and headed towards the grub.
We had the pleasure of chatting with the chef about the farm-to-table local sourcing of his food products and the roots of his Southern-inspired menu. An aeroponic garden right on the premises sources many of the fresh veggies and seasonings. Frying chicken has been in his family for decades so he advised that this dish, served with homemade black pepper honey, could not be missed.
He was right; the fried chicken was prepared perfectly and was my favorite part of the meal. It wasn’t breaded too thickly, the poultry was moist, and the black pepper honey gave the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the dish.
We were happy to also see a plentiful amount of greens at the table. The kale Caesar was well dressed and crisp, and the summer roasted vegetables were nicely charred and flavorful.
I had a few bites of smoked salmon and juicy tomato slices. Not much preparation went into these dishes, but it was refreshing to have simple savory options at the buffet.
Speaking of savory, the buffet also offered roast ham with jus, local New York state bacon, soft-boiled eggs with crunchy salt, and scallion scrambled eggs with Gruyere. The scrambled eggs were fluffy, warm, and quite filling.
Liz and I prioritized the mouth-watering pastries at the dessert table so we skipped the yogurt offering. However, the juicy berries and homemade granola seemed to be enjoyed by many of our fellow diners.
At the dessert table, we felt like we died and went to a carb-filled heaven. Large trays overflowed with soft Southern biscuits, oversized cinnamon rolls, bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce, and an extensive variety of gravy, butter, and jam.
I was partial to the melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon roll, while Liz favored the biscuits. As good friends do, we shared and didn’t judge when we both made separate second trips to refill on even more fried chicken, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls.
Gallow Green was the perfect setting for catching up with a friend, enjoying the gorgeous city views, and sampling an assortment of classic, locally sourced brunch fare. Liz couldn’t stop gushing about the ambiance and how this gem of a rooftop was “only in New York.”
The Bitches say: A. We wouldn’t change anything about our lovely dining experience up on Gallow Green’s garden rooftop. Brunch is only served on Sundays during the summer months so make your reservations soon!
Gallow Green (at the McKittrick Hotel) serves brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. (212) 564-1662