Must-See Harlem: 12 Great Things to See and Do
by David Kaufman
Photo: Paul Brissman
Red Rooster Harlem
310 Lenox Ave., 212-792-9001
Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster Harlem is the most eagerly awaited uptown arrival in a decade. Samuelsson—the renowned Ethiopian-born, Swedish-bred Top Chef Masters winner—has crafted a restaurant that is both massive and homey, chic and informal, with uptown swagger and downtown class. Sprawling over 3,400 square feet, Red Rooster Harlem features a restaurant, a breakfast café, a grocery, a horseshoe-shaped bar, a communal table and space for private events. On the main level, there's a large copper-top bar, while farther back are cozy booths and tables in an airy dining room—where Samuelsson and executive chef Andrea Bergquist serve a local-meets-global comfort-food menu that honors Harlem's roots and is still as multiculti/multinational as the restaurant's owner (and the city he lives in). Diners love the "Uptown" steak frites, along with the classic Swedish meatballs inspired by Samuelsson's grandmother Helga. Old-fashioned cocktail favorites include the gin-and-Cointreau-laced Cat's Meow and The Lenox, subtly spiked with cocoa-and-vanilla-infused bourbon. The next big thing to look forward to: Red Rooster Harlem's downstairs space, which is being developed into a speakeasy and private dining area, scheduled to open in the spring of 2011.