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The Cecil

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You remember that stall he had in the Grand Central dining concourse for a couple of minutes? I was really sorry to see that fold.

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Shoebox! Oh yeah, with all the major food groups: bacon, sausage, and ham. Loved it.

 

I'm just a little concerned: will collard greens salad be the new kale salad?

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I'll be going to The Cecil in late October and will give you a report. My HS alumni club is providing us with free tickets to the 10/25 James Brown dance event at The Apollo and sponsoring a private after-party there.

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just saw some photos of the inside of The Cecil including the kitchen. it's really sexy, even the kitchen

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It's an enormous place, and was pretty hopping at 10 PM on a Friday. Even though it's only been open a month, there are clearly some regulars, as evidenced by the greetings the bartenders gave some of the guests. Props to those bartenders, by the way--they easily filled orders without missing a beat, and when N asked for a Cinzano and lemonade, the guy serving her was happy to grab a bottle from downstairs storage.

 

There's a nice-sized front area where the bar area is and a much larger back space. They kinda sorta have a private party area; it's in the back of the back, but it's not a separate room. It was a little awkward to have 40 or so people crammed into there, as there was seating space for maybe 10.

 

We had hors d'oeuvres, a few of which are on the regular menu and a couple created just for us. Those in the former category included deviled eggs (I didn't try that), a house-cured salmon summer roll (very tasty, but I actually thought it was scallops at first), black-bottom bean cake (very interesting; tasted a bit like falafel), and Gullah shrimp burgers served in bao buns with kimchi (really good; a nice variation on the crab cake; serving it on a bao bun is an interesting concept). We also had sliders and toast with some kind of spread that was like very smooth pate/chopped liver.

 

I enjoyed everything I had, and if that's the normal level of cooking I would like to go back and have a proper meal. I can't see everything working, but there are a lot of good potentials on that menu.

 

Full menu here

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Did you read the comments?

 

Only just now. I have to say that the night I was there, there were definitely people of all races/ethnicities. And as I mentioned above, they've attracted a regular bar crowd. There are certainly substantial issues around Harlem gentrifying and opening up to wealthier people of all races (much like Fort Greene), but I agree with the commenter who offered suggestions about ways to encourage development of all types of businesses. Wouldn't the best solution be to have both nice restaurants and more affordable places (that aren't fast food)?

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Wouldn't the best solution be to have both nice restaurants and more affordable places (that aren't fast food)?

No. We can't have nice things. That would drive up rent.

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