Red Rooster Rules in Harlem


How could I forget Harlem!  In my eagerness to publish my long and detailed post on Eating in New York, I omitted to include this well known lunch spot in this fascinating part of town.

Red Rooster is an interesting restaurant combining the best of swedish influenced dishes and local Harlem favourites from chef Marcus Samuelsson. Ethiopian born and raised in Sweden, Samuelsson previously owned the highly acclaimed restaurant Aquavit which received rave reviews. Red Rooster is following the same way.

Red Rooster in Harlem


The main street of Harlem, Malcolm X Boulevard is home to the restaurant which is named after a legendary speakeasy. The bar was quiet when we arrived just before the lunch time rush but I’m told it is jumping at night when a live jazz band takes the floor. Antique bric-a-brac, books, art works and the odd red rooster figurine decorate the room.

Red Rooster in Harlem


The kitchen at Red Rooster in Harlem


Behind the bar, the dining room faces an open kitchen. Chefs wait to cook the comfort food for which Red Rooster is known.

We started with Red Rooster’s famous corn bread. Served with honey butter and a delicious tomato jam, it’s as good as it’s reputation.

From their extensive menu, we then chose two popular dishes. Helga’s meatballs, believed to be based on a recipe from his Samuelsson’s Swedish grandmother, came  topped with an egg which pleased my husband. My mac and greens showed that simple family favourites can definitely be served in a restaurant. Fried yard bird is another favourite that we may have to return to try.

Lunch at Red Rooster in Harlem

Helga’s meatballs, Corn bread with honey butter and tomato jam, Mac and greens at Red Rooster


Red Rooster also have a Sunday gospel brunch which I’m told is very popular but for us it was the perfect choice for lunch prior to our walking tour of Harlem.


Red Rooster
310 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) between 125th & 126th
Tel: 212 792 9001


Related Reading
What to do in New York
Brunch in NYC
Lunch at New York’s Eleven Madison Park
Walking New York’s High Line
The Cloisters: A Hidden Museum in New York



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23 Responses to Red Rooster Rules in Harlem

  1. budget jan March 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Would I love to be at the Red Rooster when it was jumping with live jazz? Yes I would. If I ever return to New York, which of course I must, then I am going to check this place out. Oh and what is a Mac?

    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      I agree Jan, it would be fun to go back there at night and listen to the jazz. Mac is short for macaroni cheese…the old favourite!!

  2. Karene March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Yum! Especially that mac and greens (assuming the mac included cheese too). Also just read your deliciously detailed “Eating in New York” post from last year. I can’t wait to go back just to try even a few of those restaurants.

    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      Yes, the mac had a lots of cheese..gouda, cheddar and comte!! Delicious! I hope you get to New York soon Karene

      • Karene March 17, 2013 at 12:00 am #

        Hi Jenny, I’m checking into a brief trip to New York for the family this summer. (Always on a budget, for now, even though I don’t know if you can do New York on a budget!) My husband has never been, but the kids and I have due to their school trips in junior high school. We all love the city!

        PS: I left you a long reply on my blog. Your comments have encouraged me so. I think my muse is returning 🙂

        • [email protected] March 17, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

          That’s exciting news Karene. It doen’t matter what budget you least you are there!! There’s fabulous food places to eat that won’t break the bank and plenty of free places to see. Staying in an apartment will help the budget as well especially as the family are with you. I read your reply thankyou..looking forward to more posts!

  3. Jennifer March 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Red Rooster, one of my favs!

    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

      That’s great to hear Jennifer. I wonder what your favourite dish is?

  4. The Wanderfull Traveler March 13, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    I love cornbread but sadly have only had it twice in a martini bar in Seattle!
    It’s hard to find here in Canada.


    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

      We don’t have it here in OZ either Murissa! It was so delicious… I should probably try and make some but it needed the honey butter and tomato jam….too hard! At least I have s reason to go back to NYC!

  5. Leigh March 13, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    The meal sounds divine – and anything with the word cornbread usually gets my attention. Would love to eat here!

    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

      It was a fun place Leigh. I really enjoyed the cornbread which is something we don’t have in Australia. Hope you get to try it soon!

  6. Johanna at ZigaZag March 13, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    The food looks great, and also healthy, and the whole buzz looks awesome too. On my list for when I get to New York one day. Yes, what is a Mac? I’m pretty sure you’re not talking about “A Big Mac”!

    • [email protected] March 13, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

      No relation to the big mac Jo but it is something you’ve probably cooked when the kids were younger…macaroni cheese!!

  7. Cj Thapa March 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    These pictures gave me a good appetite.
    But i can make only half fried egg among them 🙂

  8. Karen (Back Road Journal) March 21, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    It is always nice to get a recommendation for a restaurant from someone you know. I have heard the Red Rooster is good.

    • [email protected] March 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      I had heard good things about it too Karen which is why we went. I’d love to try it at night or go for the gospel brunch on a Sunday

  9. InsideJourneys March 22, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    I used to live 2 blocks from Red Rooster, ate there a lot, took friends there, etc. Love the atmosphere and the food but It’s funny, for a moment, I couldn’t think of what I ate there until I remembered some of the photos I took of the meals I had. I was (and still am) intrigued by the yard bird, I doubt I tried it though so I’ll have to go back.
    Going there before or after the lunch or dinner rush is my preference.

    • [email protected] March 25, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Lucky You Marcia, being able to eat there whenever you felt like it! Did you eat at Sylvias too. The yard bird look looked great but huge which is why I gave it a miss. next time I might see if Hubby will share it. let me know if you try it!

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