I had two meetings yesterday in Harlem. Fortunately, the second one was over lunch at the Red Rooster.
Deviled eggs to die for. Homemade lemonade. Cornbread that “came from heaven” according to our wonderful waitress (and her sense of direction was pretty good). My main dish (an appetizer) was described on the menu as:
Yep, Chicken & Waffles circa 1930
Smoked maple syrup, salsa poblana, b&b pickles
I pretty much licked the plate clean. And I had a side of Spring succotash to boot: asparagus, favas, peas, corn, crispy shallots. Man, nobody does lima beans like people whose culinary traditions come from the South.
Not familiar with the Red Rooster? Don’t worry. Neither was I. But my assistant (who gets bonus points for this find), knew of it and also knew it was steps away from where the first meeting took place. So that’s how Howard Zar—the director at Lyndhurst—and I ended up chowing down at the Red Rooster. Just your typical Jewish New Yorker and transplanted southerner hanging out together over great food.
Here’s the Red Rooster story:
Located in the heart of Harlem, Red Rooster serves comfort food celebrating the roots of American cuisine and the diverse culinary traditions of the neighborhood. Named in honor of the legendary Harlem speakeasy that attracted neighborhood folk, jazz greats, authors, politicians and some of the most noteworthy figures of the 20th century such as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Nat King Cole and James Baldwin.
Co-Creators Andrew Chapman and Marcus Samuelsson have long wanted to open a restaurant that would have a positive impact on the neighborhood’s culinary landscape and its community at-large. At Red Rooster we want to share the story of Harlem with our guests, and offer a platform to celebrate local artists, musicians and culinary talents. We embrace today’s Harlem with a spirit of inclusiveness and community by hiring our family of staff from within the community; inspiring better eating through neighborhood cooking classes; and buying from local purveyors.
Harlem is a unique and historically rich neighborhood that we are honored to be a part of. We invite you to please join us uptown and share in the spirit of Harlem at Red Rooster, where Chef Marcus Samuelsson brings his passion for food to the neighborhood he calls home.
I wrote to Andrew, Claire, and Candice afterwards and said that I might need a cleanse after this meal. Claire said it is okay to indulge every now and then. (I love my daughter.) What she didn’t know is that we head to Tennessee today…where a healthy food cleanse is pretty near impossible with my family.
Oh well…pray for the health of my arteries.
More to come…