Monday, August 6, 2012

Sylvia's: Soul Food in NYC

Fried Chicken and Ribs Combo at Sylvia's in Harlem
During my most recent trip to NYC, I experienced by The Bronx and Harlem for the first time.  I recommend both areas to anybody who is trying to soak up some true culture while in the Big Apple.  Much like New Orleans where I advise visitors to get out of the French Quarter for at least a little while, when in New York you truly must escape from lower Manhattan at some point.

Harlem lays claim to one of the most popular soul food restaurants in New York: Sylvia's.  With national acclaim and quite a bit of press to back it up, the Queen of Soul Food is definitely on the map as a restaurant.  I decided that I ought to sample a few things while sitting in the breezy curbside dining area, so I ordered the Bar-B-Que Ribs and Fried Chicken Combo ($18.95).

The chicken leg quarter had a crispy crust but lacked significant flavor.  The ribs had been oven-roasted in a "barbecue" sauce that tasted more like sweet and sour to me.  While both items were quite tasty, they didn't really compare to soul food from the South.  I know many Louisiana kitchens where I would have gotten three times the food for the same price, and it would have all been amazing.  The greens and mac and cheese tasted fairly authentic and I enjoyed them with the meats.  I washed my meal down with a highly drinkable Sugar Hill Golden Ale from the Harlem Brewing Company.  In the end, Sylvia's presented edible food with a southern soul feel, but didn't live up to my lofty expectations.  It happens.  I'm yet to find a New York style pizza in the South that lives up to what you can actually find in NYC!

Sylvia's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Jay, I find that the real southern "chefs" have set the benchmark so high that food which others rave about in other places seem mediocre by comparison. Even "Chefs" who are transplanted here have to step up their game if they expect to hang around for any length of time. When the home cooks are better than "professionals" why should they pay someone else to cook food that is of lessor quality?

  2. Cool blog! I really enjoy visiting your site. The food looks good too!


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