It seems like every time an establishment of note opens in Harlem, people say, “Isn’t it great Harlem has finally gotten its own wine bar/Target/Fairway?” But Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster on Lenox Avenue should not be interpreted as a great new restaurant for Harlem. His effortlessly multi-cultural take on soul food, in which traditional Southern dishes get an injection of Indian curry, Swedish cardamom and Ethiopian injera, is a great addition to the entire New York dining scene.
That’s not to say a local crowd isn’t already smitten with the place. The horseshoe-shaped, copper-topped bar was packed three deep when Governor Patterson swept in to dine at Red Rooster on his last night in office. There are two dining levels and an open kitchen flanked by DBGB-esque black walls scripted with white lettering: recipes in Swedish and fanciful drawings of whisks. Despite the care that was put into the decor, it doesn’t feel at all stuffy. (more…)