Red Rooster Harlem, opened since December, has evolved into one of Manhattan’s most sought after reservations, attracting a vibrant, eclectic crowd. The fact that Barack Obama held a DNC fundraiser during the restaurant’s opening week certainly didn’t hurt its allure (hopefully, that’s still the case…).
Featuring a take-out market, restaurant and bar, the Rooster was named in honor of a legendary Harlem speakeasy, and celebrates the roots of American cuisine and the diverse culinary traditions of the neighborhood.
We ordered two of what have already become signature dishes: the creamy mac and cheese with sautéed greens, and the oh-so-tender braised short ribs. Both paired beautifully with a 2007 Betts & Scholl Grenache. Another must have is the generous serving of “fried yard bird,” tender chicken with a perfectly crisp crust, dressed with white gravy and hot sauce.
Starters were delicious and generously proportioned as well. The plump crab cake with a spicy avocado mayo was rich but not overwhelming, and the perfect foil for a lovely, bubbly Brut rosé. The lobster and watercress salad, with large chunks of tender meat and lightly dressed, struck a balanced blend of sweet and spicy notes.
An aromatic, toothsome bread pudding and sinful, silky deep chocolate cake completed a wonderful meal.
Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden (yes, it’s as unlikely as it sounds), Chef Marcus Samuelsson first gained fame at Aquavit, the Scandinavian restaurant that opened in midtown in the late 1980s. He was the youngest chef to receive two three-star ratings from the New York Times while there. Samuelsson now resides in Harlem with his wife Maya Haile, a model. A dazzling couple to say the least and recently featured on the cover of Uptown Magazine, the gourmet issue.
The Rooster is fun, lively, warm and welcoming—as effervescent as the sparkling rosé and as down home as the fried chicken.
Serving Lunch Mon-Fri, 11:30am-3:00pm; Dinner Mon-Wed, 5:30pm-10:30pm, Thur-Sat, 5:30pm-11:30pm, Sun, 5:00pm-10:00pm; Brunch Sat-Sun, 10:00am-4:00pm
310 Lenox Avenue, NY, NY (between 125th and 126th) 212.792.9001 redroosterharlem.com