Yesterday, we went to Red Rooster, not to be confused with...Red Lobster...
Red Rooster, name inspired by a Harlem speakeasy, is one of the restaurant of Marcus Samuelsson, a talented Swedish raised-Ethiopian born Chef who won the title of Top Chef Master season 2. Chef Samuelsson who is living in Harlem decided to open a restaurant in that area, after realizing that there were no fine dining restaurants around. Despite a difficult beginning (it was graded C couple of months after its opening), the restaurant gain some steam and is now a success story! To get a reservation, it is crazy (I guess if you are Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton or Tyra Banks, it is easier...). The place is real nice, decorated with local art and even the bathroom with these old black and white photos is intriguing (I have to say that the photo on the door of one of the bathroom was like these old photos you see in haunting movies)! There is an outside dining area and when you enter in the restaurant, you end up in a room with a circular bar that is very vibrant. A DJ was there with good music to keep a lively atmosphere.
Now let's talk about the food! The cuisine is inspired by the Swedish origin of the Chef and some american food, especially soul food. The presentation of the dishes is extremely appetizing and the menu changes with the seasons. We tried several of their specialties:
- Crab cakes with spicy mayo: quite good with a nice pairing of the crab cakes with fruits (fresh and dry) that gave a refreshing taste to the dish. What is interesting is that at first you do not notice the spiciness of the crab cake and then you feel it in the back of your mouth.
- Mac & Greens: prepared with collar greens with a mix of three cheeses (gouda, comte and NY cheddar). The sharpness of the comte and cheddar gave another dimension to the dish and the next time you will eat regular Mac & Cheese, you will probably cry...
- Helga's meatballs with mash potatoes, pickled cucumber and Lingonberries: When I think that I only knew the Swedish meatballs they serve at IKEA!!! These were light and tasty, but I did not care about the foam!
- Steak frites served with bone marrow and broiled crab: although the presentation was well done, I did not really like that dish for several reasons. The first one is that the bone marrow & crab, presented on a bone, and the steak, looked like separate elements and I did not know if they were aimed to be eaten together or not (I tried the different combinations). Second, the bone marrow was overpowering the crab. I think I preferred the way bone marrow was served at La Silhouette, e.g. crusted.
- Roasted pork shoulder: it is usually proposed for three people and when you see all the food they bring, you understand why (we had to extend the table to be able to fit all of it)! It comes with corn bread, beans, sweet potatoes puree and pickled cabbage. The whole dish was delicious!
Of course, there is no complete meal without dessert...We finished with a blueberry pie served with a lemon meringue and lemon ice cream. That was a good way to end a delicious dinner in good company!
Despite the fact that the steak was not good (I should have follow my rule that is to avoid steak if I am not in a steakhouse), we had a good meal. I would probably go back to try some other specialties and have another Mac and Greens that was outstanding!
Enjoy (I did)!