The waitress was right. I needed to pick up the fried chicken in my fingers.
The Red Rooster Harlem is an eclectic mix of churchgoing local women, outdoorsy Swedish seniors and lithe, beautiful, black models. (And a ruddy faced food writer holding court at a round table at the back). The Fried Yard bird is crunchy, juicy with bold original flavors. I had their version of fried chicken with a side of house-made Cornbread, whipped Honey Butter and African inspired Tomato Jam. The chicken is really well browned and served in Mace Gravy. (Mace is a spice that comes from Nutmeg, but it's more pungent— like a combination of Pepper and Cinnamon) It's served with earthy, rich Collard Greens, a paste-like Hot Sauce and a squeeze of fresh Lemon.
I love being up in Harlem, I love the people, I love the energy. It's like owner Marcus Samuelsson took the entire neighborhood and stuffed it into his restaurant space. A small nod to his Nordic upbringing (Marcus was born in Ethiopia but raised in Sweden) in the form of graphic 'wallpaper' that shows a print version of his grandmother's Swedish Kringle recipe and a few recipes from home, are a nice touch. (Use real butter!)
I'll be going back, please join me.
Can't get to Harlem? Get Marcus Samuelsson's recipe for Fried Yardbird with Smoked Collards, here.
Marcus brines, then marinates the chicken, using a 'shake' (which is a blend of dry seasonings). His shake is unusual because it has the addition of Berbere. Which is a Spice Blend originating from Ethiopia.
RED ROOSTER HARLEM 310 LENOX AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10027 BETWEEN 125TH AND 126TH • 212.792.9001
(Pics: Dimity Jones)