New Yorkers pride themselves on being adventurous and progressive. We seek excitement in different parts of the city during the work week and during the weekends we seek peace and quiet at the beach or in the country but in the end we often settle in and stop exploring. Many of us eat at the same neighborhood restaurants, rarely venturing 10 blocks from home and on the weekends, we cook on our grills and spend time with our friends. I am guilty of this myself but am revived every time I go to a new neighborhood or explore the vineyards of the North Fork in my own backyard.
This week my country life and city life converged when I got into a taxi with a group of friends and colleagues and headed to the Red Rooster in Harlem for a wine dinner with Bedell Cellars. Being in Harlem was exciting for many reasons but being able to dine in Marcus Samuelsson’s (Owner/Chef and author of Yes Chef) flagship restaurant in a vibrant neighborhood with North Fork wines was plenty of incentive. This wine dinner with Bedell Cellars was the first in a series of wine dinners that will be held at The Red Rooster so stay tuned.
As we walked into the private dining room we were greeted by Molly Deegan, SVP and Director of Bedell’s wine club and The Red Rooster’s GM, Philip Montante. After a round of Red Rooster cocktails we started off on a journey through four courses beginning with Bedell’s 2012 Sparkling Rose followed by the 2012 Chardonnay, the 2012 Taste White, 2010 Taste Red and my favorite of the night, the 2011 Cabernet Franc. One of Samuelson’s chefs lead us through the dishes and Bedell’s CEO, Trent Preszler co-lead the talk with his eloquent and succinct descriptions of the wines and method of making.
Sitting there with my guests, who all live on the North Fork, we all commented on how we need to spend more time exploring our own vineyards and supporting restaurants who support our region. North Fork wines have come so far and that night’s tasting of delicious wines was proof that there is much to celebrate.
The Red Rooster has a playful menu that straddles American soul food dotted with tributes to Samuelsson’s African heritage and a nod to his Swedish upbringing with Helga’s Meatballs. Downstairs in “Ginnys”, the décor is 1920’s elegant and supper-club-like without being stuffy and the staff is attractive and friendly without being invasive. Upstairs is lively and more casual and reminded me a bit of the feel of DBGB but uptown.
The evening was an inspiration to continue exploring the great vineyards and farms of the North Fork and all the wonderful restaurants that support them. Next time you are in Manhattan, get yourself to Harlem to visit the Red Rooster and next time you are on the North Fork, stop by Bedell Cellars for a glass of wine and a whole lot of sunshine.