Ever since I heard about Red Rooster’s Sweet Potato doughnuts, I knew that this new Harlem restaurant was on my list to enjoy. In typical Shelley fashion, I scoured google for their menu and reviews. It looked like my type of restaurant, a potpourri of all that the Ethiopian born, Swedish raised Marcus Samuelson could create. So of course when a friend offered to take me to dinner (my choice), Red Rooster was at the top of my list.
I was instantly turned on by their Mac & Greens, a meld of Gouda and comte cheese baked with fresh greens. That sounded splendid, however I’m still to be the judge of that as I didn’t get a chance to taste it. The lady next to me ordered it, and it struck me as a light pasta dish, much like an alfredo cheese sauce and wilted greens, with melted cheese on top. Womp, womp. I like mine Southern style, baked with cheese oozing from the sides.
So after perusing the menu, I decided to start with cornbread served with honey butter and tomato jam. The honey butter was an easy sell, because I used to make honey butter as a child. There’s nothing like it on hot biscuits in the morning! The tomato jam, tasted more like homemade tomato soup which I would have savored warm by itself.
The first course was so satisfying that I literally could have eaten this and stopped. Psyche! But it really was delicious, it reminded me of two of my favorite things :cake and bread with fresh butter. I was feeling light and wanted something to compliment the mood. I zoned in on their Chickpea Dumplings served with fresh peas, lightly stewed tomatoes, wilted spinach, shaved asparagus, currants and farm cheese. It was like Italian gnocchi met the Moroccan spice isle!
My friend who was a little more skeptical wasn’t sure what to order, so of course he turned to me for help. Curious about the lemon dill slaw that came with the Blackened Catfish and Black Eye Peas, I was pleased and ready to sample when his plate arrived.
We were too full for dessert, but I did get a chance to witness the Sweet Potato Doughnuts live and direct with their oozing sweet potato puree center. The table next to us ordered them and I was instantly inspired to create my own batter. Although I haven’t put my skills to the test, between my sweet potato pancakes and sweet potato bread pudding, I think I can handle it. Since Marcus was readily available that night, speaking with patrons, I should have asked him for his secret during our brief encounter.
So clearly, you’ve seen that the food is nothing to play with, but even if you just want to drink in one of the swankiest places in Harlem, the decor at Red Rooster evokes comfort and class in one fell swoop of red, black and white.