Many a curious onlooker has passed the papered windows of a certain building on the east side of Lenox Ave., near 126th. Last night, the mystery within was revealed to a group of family and friends at the hard hat preview of Red Rooster, the latest culinary venture by chef-preneur Marcus Samuelsson.
The bi-level space was jam packed with a mish-mosh of close to 400 sparkly glamazons, buttoned up execs, and plenty of Harlem’s young professionals and life-long residents. To be expected, there was a clutch of culinary personalities Harlem World food writer Lil Nickelson (like executive chef/ Food Network star Aaron Sanchez, Bravo’s Top Chef /Just Desserts Gail Simmons) in attendance. But New York’s melting pot of industries and neighborhoods was well represented too. Politicians, artists, writers, fashion darlings, LES hipsters – even two German tourists who snuck inside to see what all the commotion was about – happily sampled the smorgasbord of dishes.
The chalkboard menu listed poached chili shrimp, beef patties, prosciutto rolls, fish tacos and Rooster chicken nuggets. But we spied more than a few off-the-menu appetizers being passed about: melt in your mouth Swedish meatballs, smoked salmon, pumpkin soup shooters, corn bread with tomato chutney.
The upstairs bar served plenty of the night’s signature cocktail, the Uptown Girl: a sweet-tart concoction of ruby red grapefruit juice, vodka and gingery Domaine de Canton served on the rocks. In the lower lounge, a slightly different adult beverage made the rounds: Moet topped with ginger liqueur.
The preview, was enough to whet our appetites for more but alas, no word on an official opening date or menu.
Photos by Karl Ferguson/Chrystal Parker