I really hadn't heard about him as I am not really a "foodie" in the sense of knowing important things about important chefs and eating at renowned restaurants. I mean, I wrote the other day about adding some steamed broccoli to a Trader Joe's frozen meal and I thought that was exciting!
Anyways, Marcus Samuelsson is an Ethiopian-born Swedish chef, who is well known for winning Top Chef: Masters, cooking the State Dinner for the President, and owning a number of renowned restaurants in New York City. All of this I learned through his book, as well a lot about his unique life growing up as an African in Sweden, training in kitchens throughout Europe, and trying to make it as a chef in New York City.
All of his training, influences, and experiences in his life culminated to the restaurant that he opened in Harlem, called Red Rooster. Marcus has a lot of influences from Swedish cooking, as well as his African heritage, which he had explored through food. And after living in Harlem, he fell in love with the flavors and culture of the neighborhood and had this vision of opening a high end restaurant in the neighborhood. He wanted it to be reflective of and popular for the people of Harlem, but also nice enough that people would travel to Harlem to eat there.
When I went to New York City last weekend for Dani's half marathon we decided to eat at the restaurant, as I'd told her about it. And my friend Kristen decided to join as well!
As soon as we arrived, I loved it. It was so cool because it felt and looked exactly as I feel like Marcus described it in his book when he spoke of the vision he had for the restaurant. The people inside were an incredible mix of all sorts of demographics and it was a great atmosphere and energy inside.
We got drinks at the (crowded) bar and my friend Kristen and I both decided to try the "Rooster Punch" which was by far, the best sangria I have ever had. It was delicious! The entire cocktail menu was fun and filled with drinks I would have loved to try. I did try one other (photo below) but this "Rooster Punch" was by far my favorite.
When we got our table, we ordered and all loved our food. I snapped some pictures of the different plates we had. Everyone ordered different things and everyone was kind enough to let me have bites (I love my friends!) One of the things I didn't take a picture of was Dani's appetizer of trout. I was nervous to try it because I am not a fish person... but it was so delicious! The flavor was amazing. I just wanted to say that in case anybody goes and thinks they are not a fish person. It was really good!
|Cornbread... ain't nothing wrong with that.|
|Dani and the trout!|
|My 2nd drink (don't judge!).. the Savoy, made with muddled grapes.|
|Dirty shrimp and rice|
|Mac and Greens|
Everything was seriously so good at Red Rooster and the atmosphere and decor and look and feel of the restaurant wast just wonderful. As well, the prices were really, really reasonable. From the moment that we walked in I loved this place and we all agreed it was definitely somewhere to return to. For anyone thinking of heading there, I definitely recommend making reservations in advance!
Oh, and one more thing about our dinner at Red Rooster... the company wasn't half bad :)