Eating at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster has been one of my favorite dining experiences in the city so far, so of course, I had to try the chef and Chopped judge’s newest venture, Streetbird Rotisserie.
Both of Samuelsson’s restaurants are located in Harlem and are warm and inviting in their own ways, but Streetbird is much more casual, laidback, and well, funkier. For starters, the decor is bright and fun and pulls from street culture and hip hop. There are numerous ecletic art pieces, one of which is a boombox tower at the front of the restaurant that serves as representation of hip hop and self-expression–pretty much what the restaurant is all about. If you check out their website, you can see how important art and culture is to Streetbird’s identity as it includes things that many restaurant websites don’t like a section with playlists, featuring #mixtapemondays, and a page profiling different artists who created work for the restaurant.
While the restaurant draws from street culture and street art, the menu follows suit with dishes rooted in street food. With a name like Streetbird Rotisserie, you can expect rotisserie chicken, but there’s also jerk pork shoulder, fish and grits, crispy catfish, chicken skewers over soba noodles, fried rice, and more.
My friends and I decided to share the bird ‘n’ stuff (which is a half rotisserie chicken plus the daily rotisserie veggies), the return of the mac (their version of mac ‘n cheese made with cheddar, parmesan, crispy shallots, and rigatoni noodles), and the red velvet waffle sundae. Although I must say, the crispy bird sandwich, which is crispy chicken, cheddar, smokey q, lettuce, tomato, and pickles on a potato roll, and the ying yang fries, which are sweet potato and garlic fries with parmesan, were both quite tempting alternatives.
Oddly enough, the macaroni and cheese was unanimously our favorite part of the meal. With everything we ordered split between three people, the dinner was more affordable than I was expecting. Also, I say kudos to Chef Samuelsson for opening trendy restaurants in a neighborhood that many New Yorkers don’t normally venture to and that doesn’t have as strong a dining scene as others yet. He lives in Harlem, it’s personal to him, and it’s always nice seeing someone give back to the neighborhood they love.
Bird ‘n’ stuff, return of the mac, red velvet waffle sundae
2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10026