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“Red Rooster, by Rachel Barbarotta”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Upper West Side Moderate Great

It often takes a lot to convince a New Yorker to travel very far for anything, and as a New Yorker myself, I can definitely understand why. We can have entire meals delivered to our door, can get just about any type of cuisine in any neighborhood, and never have to walk more than a block to find the nearest coffee shop. With everything in arms' reach, we're typically comfortable sticking with our own "neighborhood" spots, never further than a block or two away at any given time.

When Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on 126th Street in Harlem, my very first thought was, "You want me to go where?!" The prospect of traveling that far was daunting, but regardless of the 100-block distance between the restaurant and myself, I simply had to see what all the buzz was about. As former chef-owner of New York's Scandinavian hotspot Aquavit, Samuelsson is a chef that pushes boundaries with his cooking. By opening Red Rooster in Harlem, he also encourages diners to push their geographical boundaries by traveling far beyond their usual lower Manhattan neighborhoods.

About a month ago, I took the plunge and made a reservation for two at Red Rooster on a Sunday evening. On the night of our reservation, my boyfriend and I packed our appetites and our sense of adventure and hopped aboard the 2/3 bound for Harlem. The ride was much shorter than we expected, 100 blocks only took 15 minutes of our time, and we ascended the stairs into the chilly February air. The unfamiliar surroundings only added to our excitement and I immediately spotted the restaurant, the telltale red awning beckoning for us to enter.

From the moment we stepped inside the front door, I could feel the electricity buzzing around the cozy space. The walls of Red Rooster were covered with local art, adding to the homey feeling of the entire restaurant. A blackboard above the kitchen showed ingredients, recipes and the like, and a small “general store” was tucked into a corner but was not yet open for business. The entire front room was taken up by the enormous semi-circular bar, and through the glass at the end of the bar we could see into the lively dining room. Every table was full and every barstool was occupied by a balanced mix of intrepid downtown travelers checking out the latest in trendy restaurants and local Harlem residents out for some comfort food. Several patrons dined at the bar, seemingly having been there before and return ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Upper West Side :
+ 'Cesca   + Asiate   + Blue Hill Stone Barns   + Per Se   + The Neptune Room   + Spigolo   + Telepan   + Aix Brasserie   + 'Cesca   + Bar Boulud   + Dovetail   + BarBao   + Dinosaur Bar-be-Que   + Kefi   + Bar Luna   + Ed's Chowder House   + Red Rooster, by Rachel Barbarotta   + Loi by Dara Pollak   

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