Famous for its soul food and praised by community leaders for decades, Sylvia's Restaurant sits in the Harlem section of Manhattan. Having heard so much about the place from locals and on TV, I decided to give the place a try one morning for breakfast. Since I was alone, I took a seat at the counter. Service was quick and friendly, while the atmosphere was surprisingly local for such a famous establishment. Menu selections are hearty and traditional. Everything on the menu looked good, but I decided to go for the fried chicken and waffles.
Favorite Dish: Chicken and waffles? The seemingly incongruous pairing went very well together. Light, flaky waffles with a generous helping of butter and syrup, along with crispy, savory fried chicken. The waffles were delicious, though I was a bit surprised I got served Belgian waffles. I'm pretty sure this dish is normally served with more standard square waffles, but then again, what do I know about soul food? Another minor nitpick: While the flavor of the batter was excellent, the chicken breast was ever so slightly overcooked and dry. But maybe it was just that my expectations were so high. Coffee was excellent.
Back in 1962, Sylvia Woods opened a small restaurant at the heart of Harlem that would eventually become so popular, it would earn her the nickname of "Queen of Soul Food". Sylvia's is located on Lenox Avenue, not too far from the famous Apollo Theater. Although it's a pretty big restaurant, each room has a nice cozy feel to it. It can get very crowded (we were there on a Saturday for lunch and the place was packed!) and it attracts a pretty funny mix of tourists and locals. We started by ordering a Sugar Hill beer, a product of the Harlem Brewery Company, and we both enjoyed it. For lunch, I decided to go with the fried chicken, which is described as one of the house specialties. It came with macaroni & cheese and garlic mashed potatoes, and the whole thing was absolutely delicious! Sylvain was a bit more daring than I was and ordered chitterlings and he liked it, though he couldn't convince me to try it :op So to sum it up, not only did we get a good meal, but eating at Sylvia's turned out to be quite an experience in itself. If you feel like trying something different and are not afraid of calories, I'd highly recommend making the short trip over to Harlem to eat there.