Red Rooster Restaurant Gets Brunch Right | Harlem, NYC - Tasting Talble

Red Rooster struts its stuff at brunch

Sometimes, the bored posturing of the downtown brunch scene wears thin. Red Rooster to the rescue.

Sunday brunch at Marcus Samuelsson's new Harlem restaurant is a raucous, post-church affair, complete with a gospel singer who wades through the crowd.

The weekly fixture has a strict no-reservations policy, so embrace this mandate by clustering around Red Rooster's glorious horseshoe-shaped bar. Order a bowl of berbere-spiced nuts with dried sour cherries and chips of injera ($4) to go with any one of the house-infused bourbon cocktails, such as the Big Red Rooster ($14), made with cinnamon-saturated bourbon, Dolin Rouge, Averna Amaro and orange bitters.

When you're finally seated at a table, begin with slices of warm corn bread accompanied by pots of honey butter and tomato jam ($4). From there, brunch standards like chocolate-pecan waffles ($14) are available, but why bother when you can have a bowl of creamy tomato-soaked red grits with poached eggs and shrimp ($15) or nuggets and toast ($15), aka boneless fried-chicken pieces over buttermilk French toast, all lathered with maple syrup.

Over the years, Samuelsson has cooked Scandinavian, Asian fusion and Japanese cuisines, but the food at Red Rooster, a personal comfort-food mash-up of Southern American, Swedish and Ethiopian food, is his boldest move yet.

And to that we say hallelujah.

Red Rooster Harlem, 310 Lenox Ave. (between 125th and 126th sts.); 212-792-9001 or