Red Rooster, Harlem

One of the perks of working in promotions and events is that I’m able to experience things that I would never experience otherwise… for example, hotspot, Red Rooster Harlem on 125th Street and Lenox Ave.  I’m not going to lie… I would never travel all the way up there just to eat.  There are plenty of delicious restaurants in Manhattan, that I wouldn’t even think twice about venturing all the way up above Central Park, let alone 86th Street.

So when our latest issue had a feature on Marcus Samuelsson‘s hot new restaurant (you probably know his name from Top Chef, and he is just the sweetest guy, by the way), I was quite surprised.  Not only is Red Rooster completely out of the way, it’s actually somewhat affordable.  And who says that we peasants can’t afford anything that’s feautured in DEPARTURES?

Low and behold, our Editor in Chief and Publisher jumped on the idea of throwing a little soiree at the much-talked-about eatery (ironically enough, The New York Times  published an article on the exact day of our event).  This means, it’s time to get planning.  The large party was seated at the chef’s table and chatted with Marcus himself, and where was I?  Oh, I was just at the bar getting shoved left and right by the mobs of people trying to get a taste of the famous cornbread and whiskey.  Although it was tough securing a spot at the bar for five and a half hours, I was able to taste some of this food that everybody’s talking about.

If I hadn’t entered the restaurant with the team of big-wigs from the magazine who wrote a major article on the top chef, truth be told, the treatment would not have been anything special.  The restaurant itself is nothing special, either.  The interior is much smaller than I ever expected, but your eyes go directly to the main bar and the chef’s table, which is located in the back– right in front of the open kitchen.

First, the cornbread.  Very delicious, but each serving consisted of approximately one pound of butter.  Next, my co-worker and I decided to split two appetizers: the Red Caesar salad and the Crab Cakes.  Both were nothing I’d particularly write home about, but the crab cakes were definitely better than the salad.  Then again, it’s my own fault for thinking that a salad would be good at a restaurant that’s known for its cornbread and yard birdOh, well.

We also decided to split our entrees:  the Braised Short Ribs and the Mac and Greens.  Both absolutely delicious.  Fair warning, though… the braised short ribs was taken off of the menu a few weeks ago, as they feel it is more of a “winter dish”.  Again, if I hadn’t been “working” this event, I would never have experienced these, as they are no longer available.  So if you want to go, wait for the short ribs to make a come back.  I’d also wait for the crowds to die down, as it got to be much too loud and just too much, in general.


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