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