I am snobby New Yorker who doesn’t like to go above 14th st. I said it, I own it, I’ll say it again. It is VERY difficult to get me to go to Harlem. However, I had tried Red Rooster 6 years ago when it first opened and since it has been a prevailing institution in the area’s dining scene, I figured I’d give it another go.
Red Rooster blew onto the Harlem dining scene in 2010. It is the restaurant of Marcus Samuelsson who is a self-proclaimed champion for the area and minorities. Samuelsson is an incredibly impressive chef, having cooked many times for the Obamas and winning Top Chef Masters against formidable competitors. In opening this restaurant he wanted to positively impact the areas dining scene, and I can say with full confidence that he has done just that.
This place gets a resounding A+ for atmosphere.. The vibe in the restaurant is beyond electric. Hip patrons from all over Manhattan crowd into the bar chattering and drinking noisily. There are bright colors everywhere and loud R & B music emanates from the speakers. Every person around you is swaying to the music having a blast. This place is clearly still cool even 6 years after opening.
Our server guided us through the menu which is stacked with comfort food. They have the best cornbread I’ve ever eaten, which you can slather with butter and tomato jam. The Rude Bwoy Bacon was a real star of the menu. It features an impressively huge slab of bacon atop stewed beans. For entrees I'd recommend the shrimp & grits which were seared perfectly and heavily spiced. It wouldn’t be a true southern food restaurant without a great fried chicken dish which they offer in the form of juicy dark meat and all the fixins on the side. This place overall was a great time and worth the trip. Here’s what we had:
Deviled Egg - duck salame
Cornbread- honey butter, tomato jam
Rude Bwoy Bacon - stewed beans, pickliz, fried quail egg
Double Dutch Lobster Rolls - bun, peanut sauce, springish mayonnaise
Fried Green Tomatoes - house cured bacon, pimento cheese, watermelon
The Rooster Burger - bacon, cheddar, rooster sauce
Shrimp & Grits - cheddar grits, piri piri, frogmore stew
Fried Yardbird - dark meat, white mace gravy, mashed potatoes, bread & butter pickles