Boarding the shuttle from
Well, wouldn’t you know, I flip to the Weekend section of the Times and spot an article called “Going Upscale Uptown,” a roundup of several hip new restaurants and bars that are bringing
That night, having forgotten all my city slicker instincts, I urged Kevin to hit up some of the places in the article. We walked over to
Life had been good for him that week – after the Times piece came out, he did four more interviews, he said. That’s good news for his two places – he also owns Society Coffee just a few blocks north, which has a very community-oriented vibe – and good news for
In fact, we soon decided European tourists (particularly German) were more in the know about
But I can tell you now exactly what the Europeans know. There is some seriously good eating and drinking to be done in
I can vouch for brunch at Melba’s (photo below), run by Sylvia’s niece. Melba serves chicken and waffles too, but she’s added a modern touch to everything from to her decor – sleek and sophisticated with a bopping jazz soundtrack – to her menu. She serves Mimosas and Mellinis, for example, and her cute mini waffles come with this insanely good strawberry butter. I opted for the Sweet Potato Pancakes, however, and I did not regret it. They were moist, heavenly and repeat-worthy. Kevin’s Salmon Croquette was also quite good (and better than Sylvia’s, he said.)
But the best meal I had in Harlem was at Zoma, an upscale Ethiopian restaurant next door to 67
I know you don’t believe me ("chickpeas and lentils!?"), but it’s true. So if you ever find yourself at the top of Central Park, within five minutes walking distance of the many beautiful blocks of Harlem brownstones just to the north, stroll on up Fredrick Douglas Blvd. and see what I’m talking about. You will not leave hungry – nor will you fail to notice the incredible, diverse energy of this resurgent area.
Oh, and I'm sure you'll bump into some Europeans too (for proof, see the ones behind Kevin above). As a final parting shot, below is a photo of Kevin giving directions to some French tourists. They wanted to know where they could see some basketball being played. No, I am not joking. The racial cliché had us giggling the rest of the afternoon.