Place: Red Rooster Harlem
Location: Harlem, 310 Lennox Ave
Infamous for a few things, the owner Marcus Samuelsson, fried chicken, and for that time Obama went to the restaurant & wanted some short ribs (not available during brunch). In addition, they have a speakeasy called Ginny’s Supper Club.
During brunch hours, you can enjoy a jazz band (teaser here) in the main dining area or head down to Ginny’s, which boasts a large dining area that can be reserved and has an amazing gospel choir (teaser here).
I arrived with some apprehensions, first it seemed pretty far and out of the way, but the 2/3 Express is in front of the restaurant’s entrance, so 25 minutes from Penn Station and we were there. Second, the reviews were all over the place, but most of them were not great (portion vs. price ratio).
You should know before going, you’re pay more for the hype (see “The scoop” for why), the home-style cookin’ featuring fried chicken isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s pretty damn good. Every single person working here seemed genuinely friendly and happy, which was a nice change of pace. It’s also packed from 12pm – 2pm, but put your name in and relax, enjoy the choir, order cornbread, and drink or two, at Ginny’s, which is has that dimly lit speakeasy feeling. The gospel is offered only on Sundays, there is a renowned DJ Saturdays.
Upstairs in the main dining area has fantastic lighting and great original artwork hangs throughout. High-top seating scattered amongst a sprawling wrap around bar, which you can also sit at, and the jazz musicians are tucked in the corner. This connects to the back dining area. The kitchen is somewhat open. For those heading to Red Rooster in summer, there is a small section of outdoor seating.
This is also a really great spot for a birthday, just check out the video. I would imagine the same for visitors.
Bloody Mary, an American classic / $10
- Your standard bloody, great flavor and a good level of spiciness.
Rooster Spritzer: prosecco, aperitif, soda / $11
- A refereshing cocktail that’s on the lighter side.
IPA, Generations Brewing / $8
- Pretty decent American IPA, there was a good selection of unconventional beers, as well as your standards.
Chew on this:
MARCUS’ CORNBREAD / $6 Honey butter, tomato jam
Ordered 3 for a table of 7. A delicious moist, almost cakelike consistency, a little unorthodox – not to be missed.
DEVILED EGGS / $8 Duck salame
You get 3 per serving. Not 100% convinced the duck salame did much for my palate, but overall this was tasty.
BIRD, WAFFLE & GRAVY / $18 Sawmill gravy, crispy chicken thigh, bourbon syrup
57% of the table ordered this, no one was disappointed. The dish arrives as half of an oversized Belgium waffle topped with 2 dark meat smaller chicken thighs, with the toppings (gravy and syrup) on the side. Seems small, but it was plenty after I stuffed my face with apps and drinks. The flavor consistency was incredible, think savory meets sweet. The chicken was also juicy and fried just right.
Watch me prepare my dish here.
APPLE CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST / $16 / Griddled raisin walnut bread, caramelized apples, spiced pecans, brown sugar whip
Basically Gorge licked his plate clean. And how could you not! Raisin walnut bread isn’t exactly your typical bread used for French toast. It was also accompanied with sweet treats. Ask for syrup for additional sweetness.
PLATO PESADO/ $17 / Beef and black bean chili, sunny eggs, cheddar cheese, fried corn chips, pickled jalapeños, sour cream
Kind of like a giant crunchy taco. It was quoted as “spicy”, but I would saw just flavorful. It’s served in a little griddle and the runny eggs arrived perfectly paced on top on the dish, should prefer another style, I think this could be arranged.