Great soul food and live music in Harlem, NY (sorry, no pics)

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billyboy
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2009/09/23 10:59:40 (permalink)

Great soul food and live music in Harlem, NY (sorry, no pics)

Well folks, I actually didn't bring the camera out to dinner, even though I had planned on going to a place that I was sure was true Roadfood.  And darned if I didn't kick myself after as it was an awesome meal.  My girlfriend and scored I free tickets to be "seat fillers" for a taping of Elvis Costello's Spectacle show at the Apollo Theater a couple of nights ago.  It airs on the Sundance Channel and usually features Elvis collaborating and having discussions with fellow musicians.  Monday night's line-up included Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, Ron Sexsmith and Jesse Winchester.  Some amazing music came from those mouths and guitars!
 
Anyway, before the show, we decided to check out a soul food spot in Harlem, Amy Ruth's, that I had heard about many times before.  Just a block from the 116th Street stop on the 2/3 train, I knew I was going to like this place when I saw all of the cakes lined up on the counter when we sat down.  Red Velvet cake, Pineapple-Coconut cake, Chocolate Layer cake, carrot cake!  Buffetbuster would have been proud!  Dessert was a must.  We ordered different platters so we could try as much food as possible.  Dayna had the President Barack Obama (Bar-B-Q style, they also offer it fried or smothered) with white rice and collards.  I had The Reggie Harris Southern Honey Dipped Fried Chicken (all of the dishes on the menu are named after notable members of the African-American community; politicians, activists, ministers, celebrities, sports stars, etc...white meat, of course, with candied yams and mac & cheese.  When I saw "Kool-Aid of the Day" as a drink choice and it was grape?  Well, no question there!
 
The rundown:
 
President Barack Obama - moist flavorful chicken and the barbeque sauce was sweet and tangy with a slight bite to it. 
 
White Rice - simple, yet had a nice flavor to it and seemed to be seasoned (probably with salt) just right and had just a bit of bite (texture) to it.
 
Collards - quite possibly the best I have ever eaten!  I know, I know, I have barely spent time in the South and still have much to learn, but Harlem and collards go back a long way and these had been cooked down, yet still had a slight crunch to them and there were nice smokey shreads of pork in them that brought out a real depth of flavor.
 
Reggie Harris Honey Dipped Fried Chicken - a breast and a wing.  Great crunch to the crust and was seasoned not too much or too little.  Moist chicken drenched in honey that pooled on the plate.  A little Frank's Red Hot Sauce on top and I was lovin' it!
 
Candied Yams - candy-sweet and perfumed with cinnamon,  excellent.
 
Mac & Cheese - cheesy, slightly gooey, the taste and texture were on point.
 
Kool-Aid of the Day - not sure what possessed me to try this.  Maybe nostalgia from a cold glass on a hot summer day?  Maybe laughing at those ridiculous commercials where the Kool-Aid man crashed through the wall?  What, he couldn't turn a doorknob?  They didn't have doorbells in the 70s?  Come on, I mean, he DID have opposable thumbs!  I wonder how much property damage he caused in 2009 dollars!  Anyway, this had to be the sweetest drink I have ever put to my lips.  I had to get three glasses of water just to cut it down to where I could stand it!  Glad I tried it and would probably get again if I could cut it down again (and no, they didn't charge me extra for making three drinks out of one!).  The only mistake I made was having the honey drenched chicken, candied yams and Kool Aid in the same meal.  Next time more of a balalnce between sweet and savory would be the ticket.  They do have a Chicken & Waffles selection on the Waffles part of the menu and some other tempting sounding sides like fried okra, mashed potoes and gravy, grits, cabbage, potato salad and buttered corn. 
 
Red Velvet Cake for dessert - best I have ever tried!!  Moist, great cocoa flavor and creamy cream cheese frosting. 
 
Definitely will be going back with the camera.  Total was $43.00 for both of us and that includes tax and tip. Not cheap, but money well spent.
 
I don't usually post about a single place, but this really stood out to me!
 
 
 
The 411
 
1.)  Amy Ruth's
      113 West 116th Street
      Harlem, NY 10026
      Ph# 212-280-8779
      Website:  www.amyruthsharlem.com

post edited by billyboy - 2009/09/23 11:32:16
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