illions of people visit New York each year, many looking for an authentic soul food experience at some of our famous restaurants. As a native New Yorker, a granddaughter of two renowned soul food cooks, and a foodie, I know my soul food restaurants. These five were the city’s best in 2011. Give them a try, while remembering that moderation is key. Otherwise, eat, drink and be merry!
1. Amy Ruth’s
Harlem , NY 10026
Eating at Amy Ruth’s is like dinning at your grandma’s house. It has a comfy vibe that evokes a feeling of family. The menu features entrees named after prominent African-American’s like The Rev. Al Sharpton — fried or smothered chicken and waffles — and The Ruby Dee — fried or baked catfish . The entrees come with two sides. I recommend Mac and cheese and potato salad. A stand out dessert is their sweet potato pie. It’s as good as my grandmother’s and she put her foot in her pie.
New York, NY 10025
Miss Mamie’s boasts many accolades from various news and media outlets and, for good reason — the food is delectable. The proprietor is Norma Jean Darden, a former Wilhelmina model and a cook book author. This restaurant is homey and not large, so make a reservation for large parties. The menu has standard items such as collards, BBQ, fried chicken. Stand out entrees include pan seared trout, grilled salmon with a Caribbean sauce, and homemade meat loaf. Their banana pudding and peach cobbler are both an awesome choice for the ending to your meal.
3. Soulfully Your’s
Queens, NY 11434
They deliver to the surrounding Queens neighborhood. Crowd favorites are their mouth-watering salisbury steak, fried whiting and potato salad. Be sure to call ahead, as they don’t stay open as long as some places.
Valley Stream, NY 11580
(about 20 miles from Manhattan)
At Pretty Toni’s you get a scrumptious brunch consisting of faves like cheese grits, turkey bacon, Belgium waffles, and more. Dinner leaves one with many choices too. The Salisbury streak and grilled lamb chops with garlic and rosemary are delicious.
5. Red Rooster
New York 10027
Red Rooster is a relatively new soul food-inspired restaurant with fresh ideas. Go here to experience a beautifully decorated atmosphere and people watch at the lively and wildly popular bar scene. They have unique cocktails and appetizers like dirty rice with shrimp. The entrees mac & greens and yard bird do not disappoint . Try the sweet potato donuts too. After you finish your food head down stairs to the lounge and dance the calories away.