Don’t be fooled by the “yardbird” on the menu at chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem. It’s not some newfangled poultry hybrid; it’s one of the best fried chicken dishes in the neighborhood—no mean feat. Samuelsson, whose new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty, is out now, set up shop on lively Lenox Avenue because the 37-block stretch reminds him of the Champs-Élysées in Paris. “You need to walk it, because if you drive it, all the beauty gets missed,” he says. “You see iconic churches and brownstones and hear music from hip-hop to jazz.” Just note that the street is also called Malcolm X Boulevard. (The address numbers are the same on both.) Here’s how Samuelsson spends an ideal weekend stroll.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: “African-American history is complex, and this place has it all. Plus, they have a great lecture series.”
Sylvia’s Restaurant: “It’s a neighborhood institution that’s been here for 52 years. Even though Sylvia has passed away, someone from the family will always be there working.”
Ginny’s Supper Club: “We built this space under Red Rooster, and music is the main entrée. We have live performances multiple nights a week. It’s really about discovering unknown local artists.”
Apollo Theater: “I’ve been there on amateur night where you might see the next James Brown or Michael Jackson. The crowd is honest but brutal.”