Southern Dining

by Julie Besonen, 07/18/2012

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  • Amy Ruth's 
    113 W. 116th St., 212-280-8779, Harlem, Manhattan
    Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too 
    366 W. 110th St., 212-865-6744, Harlem, Manhattan
    At Amy Ruth's, squares of crumbly corn bread are delivered promptly from the oven, warm enough for the butter to melt in. The chicken dishes (fried, smothered, baked, honey-dipped) are rightly celebrated and, named in honor of VIPs, have such appelations as The President Barack Obama, The Ludacris and The Rev. Al Sharpton. Some of the best food in Harlem is here, including browned salmon croquettes and crunchy, golden-fried okra that's as habit-forming as any commercial snack food. The space is plain and informal, with locals filing in for takeout. But fried food doesn't always travel well, so why not sit a spell? 

    You'll also want to chill out at Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too, a cute country cottage with a white picket fence enclosing the outdoor seating area. Indoors is an upright piano painted red, and there are layer cakes on the counter, and vintage kitchen tools and family photos on display throughout the room. The Southern fried chicken is delicious, as are the ribs and catfish. How to decide? The sampler, of course, which allows a taste of everything plus sides like collard greens and hoppin' John.

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