A look at the NOOK inside Red Rooster

A look at the NOOK inside Red Rooster
Friday, November 2, 2012
by ChristopherS

Almost two years after opening, Red Rooster in Harlem is still the place to be. With superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson at the helm, Red Rooster continues serving up huge helpings of culture and community along side the prized fried yard bird and Helga’s meatballs as its signature dishes.

A recent addition to Samuelsson’s growing collection of business ventures is the NOOK, a small pocket within Red Rooster opened a few weeks ago to rave reviews. The NOOK offers savory sandwiches, an assortment of beverages including Ambessa tea (Samuelsson’s own tea line), Illy espresso, and sweets by pastry chef Deborah Racicot. Chef Samuelsson enlisted Chef Deborah to come uptown and spark a pastry program in Harlem for Red Rooster and the NOOK like no other.

Chef Deborah has worked at some of New York City’s best restaurants, including Gotham Bar and Grill for 10 yrs, as well as along side Chef Samuelsson at Aquavit for 2 years. Deborah is not only passionate about embracing cultures though her food, but also makes sure to infuse a bit of the ever evolving cultures in Harlem into the flavors.

So, what’s on the NOOK’s menu you ask? Nothing but deliciousness! I can say that with confidence after a recent visit to chat with Chef Deborah and sample some of the confectionary creations. The blend of cultures on the menu were apparent: lingonberries are used in the Hoagie Svenska, while a curry spiced oatmeal is used to create the “A-Train Special” cookie consisting of a curry spiced oatmeal-blueberry cookie sandwich with a light cream cheese filling. Everything on the menu at the NOOK is a recognizable favorite with an unexpected cultural twist, which is exactly what Chef Deborah was going for!

There is the Yamma Jamma coffee cake (sweet potato cake with port-roasted black mission figs), a vegetarian sandwich called the Atta Boy (fried plantain, yucca, and curried lentils with Haitian pikliz folded into a fresh roti wrap), and a coconut cupcake (fluffy coconut cake filled with lemon curd, frosted with meringue, and topped with toasted coconut). Although the NOOK recently opened, the future looks extremely bright.

“We wanted to create a menu with recognizable favorites but with a slight and subtle cultural twist, weighing heavily on the notion of tradition and non-tradition. These pastries are texturally different, lighter, and showcase a balance of flavors, without being overly sweet.” - Chef Deborah Racicot, Pastry Chef at Red Rooster Harlem

Read the full story at UptownFlavor.com