Harlem, Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster… any of these sound familiar?
Harlem, maybe, because it’s a large neighborhood in the northern section of Manhattan. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major residential and cultural center for African-Americans.
Marcus Samuelsson, because he is a famous Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef, restaurateur, and owner of the Red Rooster. Married to Maya Haile by the way, an absolutely gorgeous Ethiopian model.
Red Rooster, because it’s President Obama’s favorite restaurant?
In fact, Red Rooster is more than that. Located in the heart of Harlem, with a very trendy and cozy atmosphere, this restaurant is famous for its soul food. Soul food is a variety of cuisine that comes from the traditional dishes of the Southern United States and originated from the food prepared and consumed by enslaved Africans and freedmen; later to become a staple of African-American culture. The term may have originated in the mid-1960s, when soul was a common word used to describe African-American culture (for example, soul music).
Red Rooster was opened in 2010, named after the legendary Harlem speakeasy where some of the most notable figures of the 20th century gathered to enjoy drinks and listen to Jazz music.
The place is always busy, very hip, and the crowd is quite diverse. The ambiance is really enjoyable, and the service is very good. The day we went, we were a group of nine for lunch. Usually such a large group is asked to order from the set menu priced at $45; because the big table was already reserved, I booked 2 tables; one for five and one for four. When we arrived, the receptionist did her best to find a table big enough to accommodate us all without requiring us to order from the set menu.
Red Rooster’s décor is very attractive and welcoming. The menu has a wide variety of choices. The average price for appetizers is $16 and entrees run about $29; don’t forget to add tax and tip! The bar is great and they offer all kinds of cocktails; you can just stop by and have a glass or two. There is also a corner in the restaurant where you can plug in your computer and work with a cup of coffee. A calm work environment, however, is not guaranteed!
Red Rooster serves soul food but with a dash of sophistication. We ordered several appetizers and salads. Everything was all very good.
Ginney’s fried green tomato salad.
The grand lax.
Late late harvest heirloom tomato salad, yes, that is the name of the dish.
Some of us were a bit hungrier and ordered a main dish.
St Lenox pastor pork was my choice. I was a bit disappointed by the quality of the meat; the pork ribs were too tough. The meat didn’t come off easily from the bones but the accompanying sauce and vegetables were very good.
The rooster burger was very good and cooked as requested.
The fish of the day was succulent, lean and tasty. The choice of vegetables was very refine and the sauce had a prefect seasoning.
In March 2011, President Obama attended a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee hosted at Red Rooster. The $30,800-per-plate event raised $1.5 million. Luckily the prices went down since then and Red Rooster became accessible again! Bon appetite!
If you want to experiment a speakeasy bar in Harlem and listen to Jazz music don’t miss Bill’s Place. Nadège, a French New Yorker, traveled the streets of NYC and talks about her experience in Experience New York!
310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027
📞 (212) 792-9001