If someone calls you up at the last minute or for that matter anytime to go up to Harlem and eat at Red Rooster, say yes. Even if Southern cooking isn't your thing, make it your thing for the night.
The restaurant has an incredible bar scene. A huge wrap around oval bar that could hold a lot of people with just the right amount of depth behind the seats for standing. The divide between the restaurant and bar is an open wooden shelf unit that is the perfect size filled with bottles of liquor. The menu has a few cocktails to start with and of course clever names. Standing up at the bar and waiting for your table isn't the end of the world.
We finally sat down. I love going out with this group because they are all foodies and one of them always does us the honor of ordering for the table. Perfect, communal and fun. A plate of sliced cornbread was sitting on the table when we got there. Dense yet moist and a kick of salt on the crust. Really good.
Three appetizers came out. This is called Jerk Bacon and Eggs. A clever play on bacon and eggs. A sunny side up egg sitting on a bed of heavy duty brown beans and two sides of bacon that had the consistency of pork belly on the side. Wow. Just brilliant.
Of course, fried chicken. They call is Fried Yard Bird. For me, it is all about the dark meat and that is all Red Rooster serves here. A super intense crust with white gravy and hot sauce. What else can I say?
Helga's meatballs which is probably an ode to Sweden where the chef, Marcus Samuelsson, is from. These were incredibly light. Tiny meatballs with slices of cucumbers and lingonberries underneath a foamy sauce. I admit i am over the foam thing but it worked.
We closed the place down. Literally the last group to leave the restaurant area. So glad we got invited to go at the last minute which also happened to be the only time I was in the city for dinner for awhile. It was meant to be and absolutely a place to be checked out. On a side note, we brought home the leftovers which we handed over to Josh and his friend when we got home. They were devoured instantaneously.