I was at Harlem Shake a couple of months ago speaking with Jelena Pasic for a restaurant review, but was unable to finish it, as Jelena had to run to a meeting and was going out of town for the holidays.
Jelena gave me a call and invited me to a private event at Harlem Shake, the “Burger & Wine Festival” in partnership with Mozel Watson of Pompette Wine & Spirits. This was in fact a perfect opportunity for me to finish my review and sample some of the fare offered by Pompette, as I was planning to feature Mozel Watson of Pompette for The Elegant Classy Gentleman.
While this Restaurant review is for Harlem Shake, I have to cover the “Burger & Wine Festival” as it was quite unique and fun!
Harlem Shake opened on 124th Street and Lenox Ave (a prime location indeed!) in April of 2013 and became an immediate success. Owner Jelena Pasic and executive chef Pedro Ramirez took a great idea and transformed it into a Harlem icon in a relatively short time.
Interior designer Dennis Decker who moved to Harlem over a decade and a half ago, designed Harlem Shake, modeled on the vintage 1940’s soda shop/diner concept.
In the initial interview with Jelena, she served me the hot honey chicken sandwich, which was quite tasty and spicy without taking away from the flavor of the dish itself. Next she had me try the Kale Caesar Salad, with chick peas and croutons which is not only healthy (the health benefits of kale is well known) but also satiated my appetite, along with their signature lemonade.
At the Burger & Wine Festival, Mozel paired his great wines with Jelena’s delicious fare to the delight of all that was invited.
The fried fish slider, which was cod fish covered in tartar sauce and slaw, was paired with a nice white wine, Veuve Ambal, Cremant de Bourgogne.
The classic fried chicken, brined in buttermilk with creamy slaw and pickles, was paired with a 2014 white wine Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet.
A 2013 Riesling, Dusko Blu from Germany was paired with the hot honey fried chicken, served with Mike’s hot honey and pickled jalapeno.
A wonderful red wine, Barrique Pinot Noir 2014 was interestingly paired with Harlem Shakes Classic slider, which is made with sirloin patties, cheese onions, pickles and Harlem Shakes special sauce.
The “Hot Mess” a classic favorite is made with bacon, relish and chipotle mayo, and Pickled hot cherry pepper. This was paired with a red wine, Max Carmenere, Errazuriz, 2013.
Another red wine Heartland Shriaz, 2012, was paired with Harlem Shakes “Sonoran Dog” which is a deep fried hotdog bacon wrapped with pickled cheery pepper, bacon relish, vidalia onions.
Harlem Shake also offers veggie burgers for those Harlemites who don’t eat meat, as well as great salads, a host of delicious sides, beer and wine. Harlem Shake is a wonderful place for everyone to hang out with friends, or a date in a fun laidback and friendly atmosphere.
I myself was very impressed with the huge effort and thought that was put into this event; which shows how talented and creative minds engage in a labor of love, and bring it to the Harlem community. Harlem Shake continues to evolve along with Harlem itself along with great people and new comers like Pompette.
Harlem Shake gets four and a half stars for food, service and ambiance. The collaboration of Harlem Shake and Pompette to create “The Burger & Wine Festival” event gets five stars. This event perfectly illustrates (especially for wine lovers like me) the importance of pairing the perfect wine with your food to enhance your dining experience.
This concept in its simplicity is worthy for its elegance.
Harlem Shake and Pompette will continue the Burger & Wine festival with an event open to the public on Saturday February 20th from 4-8pm. $45.00 per person at Harlem Shake 100 West 124th Street Lenox Ave. This event is more than well worth it! RSVP: http//burgerandwinefestival.eventbrite.com
For photos of the private event: #Harlemburgerwinefest