There’s such an astounding concentration of restaurants in Manhattan, it’s easy to find good food without walking more than a few blocks. And thanks to seamless.com, you probably don’t even have to leave your house. But there are a lot of neighborhoods worth going out of your way for if you’re craving something special.
This weekend in New York was blustery and cool, and you could feel that winter is around the corner. It was the kind of weather that makes you miss home, and home cooked meals. There’s nothing homier or more comforting to me than soul food (or maybe a good cassoulet…), so I made the easy trek up to Harlem, which is arguably the best area in or near the city the find soul food.
There are lot’s of great places to go in Harlem, but Amy Ruth’s must surely be one of the best. I went at 5:00 pm on Sunday, and even so had to wait a few minutes for a table. But once the table was ready, I was greeted warmly and with a basket of fresh cornbread, which is how more meals should begin. After agonizing decisions, an order for the “Walter Berry” (BBQ spare ribs and fried chicken) and the “Roger Toussaint” (smothered turkey wings) was put into the kitchen.
Not long after, two hot and huge plates were delivered to the table, with their accompanying side dishes. Though I tried to focus on the meaty mains, I was repeatedly distracted by the sides, which I could easily make a meal of. The collard greens were particularly good, perhaps some of the best I’ve found, and the macaroni and cheese was surprisingly addictive. Though I didn’t get to try it in this meal (only drool over my neighbor’s from afar), I’m sure Amy Ruth’s fries up some okra real nice.
I’m embarrassed to say that my dining pal and I finished literally everything that we ordered, while grown men (large grown men) next to us sent unfinished portions back to the kitchen. I regret nothing though, except perhaps that by the end of the meal I was so full it would have been positively sinful to attempt dessert. Maybe next time I’ll order the (smaller?) chicken and waffles, also known as The Rev. Al Sharpton, saving room for the sweet potato pie.
Perfect for: a home cooked meal when you’re far from home
Perfect meal: cornbread, The Walter Berry (BBQ spare ribs and fried chicken) with collard greens and fried okra, topped off by sweet potato pie if you can bear it