Restaurant Review: Bar LunAtico. Bed Stuy Brooklyn.

While I was traveling in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn to meet with someone to interview for a story. I got a bit lost on the address.  Since it was windy and a bit cold, I ducked into a cozy bar/restaurant to warm up and get my bearings. (and have a glass of Chardonnay of course) I noticed how packed this place was (it was a Monday Night!), and the live music, was from what little I heard quite good. They didn’t have Chardonnay, but the white wine they did have was very good as well! Making contact with the person that I was due to meet was my signal for the check. But before I left I give my business card to my server, and told him that I would return the following night to do a restaurant review.

20200130_111111As promised, I returned the following evening to check out this charming albeit small local music venue, and my server from the previous evening recognized me as I took a seat at the bar (the place was packed again, Tuesday Night), which I had to work for. I was told by Zeek (my server from the night before) that he was glad that I returned and gave one of the owners my card, as well as inform her that I was going to do a restaurant review that evening. She looked at my card, then looked at me and said: “He does look like an Elegant Classy Gentleman”.

As I tried to make myself comfortable in the tight space at the bar in my seat, I took a closer look at the trappings and décor of this “STRANGE” and delightfully cozy venue, (that seemed to be packed every night of the week) and tried to figure out the features that seemed to touch and embrace every era, in a way that was not sloppy or haphazardly arranged, but sort of blended together seamlessly engaging the senses.



I was a bit impressed with the décor set up, (ok, very impressed) as it was not only unique and inviting but reminded me of what a post-modern hipster spot from the 60’s would look like today……and it is! The atmosphere is relaxed and chill with such a positive vibe! All the patrons was warm and friendly, and I found myself chatting away with local regulars, as well as regulars who travel from other boroughs to be here 2-3 nights a week, just to hear the live bands that perform here every night.

20200129_204945 Zeek at one point asked if I liked Jazz, and I responded that I Love Jazz. At that point he told me that I was in for a real treat, as Wayne Tucker & the Bad Mothas was performing tonight.

20200130_111216So forewarned I ordered a glass (Not Chardonnay) of that brilliant wine I had the night before: Garganega Gini, a 2018 Soave Classico (love the name too!) Veneto, Ita, with notes of hawthorn flowers, apricots, and citrus. And this stellar wine is Organic! And Hummus served with toasted Sweet bread to start.


20200130_111339The hummus was topped with olive oil and spices, and the toasted sweet bread was an added touch that made it most interesting, and just enough to hold me till my main dinner arrived.

Next I ordered the Roasted Chicken, which was served with baked Cabbage and spiced Yogurt!

20200130_111453(Roasted Chicken with baked cabbage and spiced yogurt)

20200130_111539Now let me explain. This dish yet simple, was the most deliciously complex that I’ve had in quite some time. The textures of the roast chicken and baked cabbage, somehow wonderfully contrasted with the spiced yogurt to give such a unique take on this simple dish that I was desperately trying to contain my pleasure (they were watching me you know) on how much I enjoyed it.

20200130_112229(Liquid Love)

Before the band performs, one of the owners rings a bell from behind the bar to demand that you cease your conversations, so he/she can (which ever owner presides that night) announce the band and beg your attention. (this place is charming!). Another great thing about this place, is there isn’t a cover but between sets, one of the owners (whoever’s presiding) will pass along what appeared to be a musical instrument case of some sort, to collect a “suggested donation” of $10.00. Totally optional!

20200130_112614The band started playing their first Jazz set, and I sat back to listen as I was lulled into a calm and chill mood (especially after such good food), and decided to try one of their signature cocktails: “The Liquid Love” as the band played.

The Liquid love: Siete Misterios Mezcal, reposado tequila, chili, honey and lime. This cocktail delivered on it’s promise, as I did in fact fall in love with this drink.

20200130_112638The patrons are an international crowd of people who love real good live jazz music. White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, European, American. All are represented and welcome here at LunAtico! And everyone is jiving to the Awesome Jazz sets. If there was a corner of heaven on earth, this place would be it! This place is truly a hidden gem in Brooklyn.

20200129_205000This charming Jazz venue in Bed Stuy has been around Five Years strong, and I should have been so lucky to just come upon this place by happenstance! The three owners of this music venue are: Rosita Kess, Richard Julian, and Arthur Kell. I had the pleasure of meeting Rosita (an enchanting Italian) after my review, and remarked on how she was working, bussing and serving tables just as hard as the staff (if not harder), and she shared with me how they (the three owners) used to be musicians as well, so have a plethora of good bands that they are friends with. And also how she designed the venue’s décor.

20200130_112718(Mike Strange, co-owner Rosita Kess)

20200129_225401(Zeek, Mike Strange)

20200130_112841(Mike Strange, Liz)

20200203_234143(Mike Strange, co-owner Arthur Kell)

Being carried away by the superior live jazz music, wonderful company, delicious and healthy food, great drinks and wine. I found myself literally closing the place. I give this spot an overall 4 1/5 star rating, and the music a 5 as they have incredible talent performing EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK. I have been back to LunAtico about three times since my review, and everything I saw, and experienced since the first time was still in place. I recommend this place for a romantic date (especially if you like live Jazz Music), or a destination place for the evening with friends, or even alone. It’s virtually impossible to not have a good time here. A perfect place for a Valentine’s Day evening with your date, if you can get a table or seat at the bar, so get there early

LunAtico is located at 486 Halsey Street in Bedford Stuyvesent Brooklyn NY, on the corner of Lewis Ave. Here’s a link to their website:


You’ll find me squeezed in at the bar, or table with a glass of their amazing wines or cocktails vibing to their “gypsy jazz” and “neo-folk” live bands! (you will spot me immediately as the only over dressed classy gentleman).

Brunch at Ruby’s Vintage Harlem.

On Sat January 12th Harlem’s new upscale lounge Ruby’s Vintage started their new brunch menu. being a fan of co-owner Brian Washington Palmer’s culinary creations for over a decade, I just had to go and try it!

While I’m always on the lookout for suitable places in Harlem to eat, network, write, entertain and conduct casual business, and more importantly relax. Few places have the right combination (especially with good places closing, and new places opening at an almost breakneck pace) of ambiance, good music, exceptional food with flair and variety.

It would seem Harlem Vintage has achieved all the criteria mentioned, to my delight without a doubt. The introductory menu included such dishes as, Eggs Bennie with Canadian beacon or smoked salmon, a curious dish named “The Devils Mess” which consists of scrambled eggs, chorizo, tomatoes, carmelized onions with jack cheese, Chaliah French Toast with fresh fruit, Steak and Eggs, Organic Pasta with brown butter, mushrooms, and truffle oil. Southern Breakfast, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage or bacon, home-fries, and cheese grits! And of course Shrimp and Chedder Grits. For $16.00 you can have unlimited Rum bunch or Mimosa’s for an hour and a half with your entrée.


I choose the Southern Breakfast which was served to me hot, and cooked by Brian himself. All the items on my plate seem to blend and compliment each other, flavors, aroma’s, and visual presentation all combined to create an enjoyable as well as a favorable experience. With my meal I had the unlimited mimosa, which was not overbearing with the champagne or the OJ (which seems common in many places), but blended perfectly to my delight. The music was also very delightful, a combination of “balaeric beats, world music, and smooth groves” (I slipped into a momentary reverie when Blonde’s rapture slided in rotation).

I highly recommend Harlem’s Ruby’s Vintage Saturday/Sunday brunch, alone, with a date (It’s very romantic) or with friends, either way you will end up elevated and satiated.

The Green Parrot: The Harlem Lounge Oasis near the Sugar Hill Area.

Standing right under my nose in Harlem is a charming small lounge called the Green Parrot on 145th Street and 7th Ave near the “Sugar Hill” area. The Green Parrot is a fascinating bar/lounge in Harlem, with an interior that you would not expect in this particular area on 145th and 7th. It looks like it should be in downtown Manhattan or “Downtown Harlem” simply because of the tasteful ambiance this place has.

The Green Parrot is another addition to Harlem by “Londell” , yes the same owner as the famed Londell’s restaurant on Strivers’ Row in Harlem, with the same touch of class but with a unique flavor of its own. This place gives off a relaxed and humble feel mixed with a lot of “coolness”. Green Parrot is managed by the lovely and sexy Rashida Gariver aka (“Roxy”) who also is the resident “Mixologist”!

“We are very open minded with our clientele, we have people from different backgrounds, from different places, and all are welcome here as long as you come with love in your’re heart. This establishment is a place that leads with love. There really is no limit to our clientele as long as you come with love and respect in you’re heart. We put good energy into our atmosphere so that we can receive that good energy back.”

As I spoke with “Roxy” she explained her plans to transform this lounge into a hub of culture with a variety of different genre’s with art gallery shows, paintings and poetry, performing arts, different forms of artistry to allow people to come and express themselves. We also feel the need to cater to the people that live here in the neighborhood to build with the community.kimg1375-2

This bar/lounge also has “bar food” that is good good indeed. Roxy served me the “Veggie Burger”with fries and coleslaw served with a chipotle  mustard which left me quite satiated along with her signature “red sangria” that was not only tasty but packed a hidden punch with I felt when I rose from my stool when she offered to take me on a tour


of the kitchen and her office downstairs. Roxy is not only a pleasant and respectful person, she is also a most gracious excellent host. (then I realized she treats everyone likes this) many would benefit from her example. As she walked me thorough the kitchen and introduced me to the chef, I noticed that the kitchen was not only very clean and orderly, but above standard (they did not get an A rated for nothing), then she showed me her modest office (very neat and professional) and even got a tour of the liquor store room, (I felt like an inspector) as she showed me that everything is of high standard, which it was in fact. The openness and honesty of this woman was impressive enough to pass any inspection!

The Green Parrot also features “Roxy’s Signature Drinks” all artistic creations from the head mixologist herself. “I am like a chef when it comes to mixology” I tend to blend liquor, juices, herb and spices and flavors”. I’m learning everyday some new combination of liquors and flavors. All my drinks I make from scratch, and my inspiration comes from my customers while I custom build drinks for them.” Roxy’s flavorful creations include the rapidly trending “Call Uber” and the “Joy Ride” which is a variation of the sidecar she recreated.  Roxy is always thinking of new ways to make the lounge better, and she is totally committed to her work; when I asked why she pours so much energy into the lounge, she said: “Because I love the business, I love the grind and what I do”!


And just like her wonderful signature drinks and outstanding customer service, I love what she does too!


PEQUE: A “Cozy and Hip” Restaurant near Sugar Hill.

I was invited to a unique, stylish and intimate restaurant near the Sugar Hill area of Harlem on West 145th Street by co-owner Paul Morejon called PEQUE. While this hip and cool place may seem a little unassuming from outside, once you step in its like entering a another time and place; specifically, Spain, France and sometime in the mid 1930’s and 1940’s, but  still managing to come off as modern. Paul owns the restaurant with Marla Rose, who is also the chef of this fine and exciting place to drink and dine.  PEQUE occupies the same location that was formally “Mountain Bird”. Paul and Marla was looking for a space to open a restaurant in Harlem for almost two years, but was not happy with the locations that they were shown in “Downtown Harlem”(which is the term he used for “that corridor between 110th and 130th  street”), as they both live a couple of blocks from the restaurant in Sugar Hill and wanted a space in their neighborhood.


(Co-Owner Paul Morejon)

“We wanted to bring something to our neighborhood that would not only be welcomed, but needed as well; such as nightlife and entertainment that this area does not have a lot of, so we are very happy to be an anchor in this part of Harlem for this.

        ( Josephine Baker Custom Décor charger by Harlem Artist “Ollomatic”)

As I was enjoying the space and the music and the clientele and the food and the service, I suddenly realized that I was having the time of my life, and all I had to do was walk into this amazing restaurant and sit down. Snapping out of my reverie, I continued my interview with Paul (who is so cool and relaxed) and asked him about his background.

“I have very little restaurant experience, I have decades of eating at restaurant but never worked at one before this. I worked with an experienced restaurant manager and consultant who basically boot camped me for about three to four months before the restaurant opening in the operating and the nitty gritty of the business, her name is Alexis Pepaj Straber (formerly of the popular Red Farm). Everything else I learned on the job opening and closing the restaurant.  I learned how to handle the tips, scheduling, wine and food ordering, handling staff, and also having a husband at home and we entertain people to make sure everyone has a good time, I sort of transferred that here to the restaurant.”  Before this Paul spend 20 years leading technology teams in internet development, websites and applications. “And after that I  was living the life of a New York Fashion week photographer, I still do fashion week photography”.

Co-owner and chef Marla Rose was formally a NYPD Lieutenant for 23 years, and after retirement went to culinary school ICE (Institute of Culinary Education), and is doing an amazing job at transforming the tapas style into something authentic with a Harlem touch on it.  Now the fare is an authentic Tapas style with a flair of Harlem added to it.


I was served the “Setas Salteadas”(delicious mushrooms with sautéed shallots) to start and than came out “Cordero a La Parilla” (Grilled Lamb chops with vegetable couscous and arugula salad in vinaigrette), I was also served the “Ceviche”(shrimp & bacalao cocktail with corn tortilla strips. Notable mention must be given to the “Asparagus” (wrapped in Jamon Serrano) and the “Vice” Chardonnay, a 2013 uncommon Sonoma & Napa Valley blend which is far superior to any Chardonnay I have tasted in Harlem, except for Barawine Harlem.


The lamb chops was served medium rare and all my dishes was served on vintage china! “I have a secret place in the Bronx where I get my antique china”. Paul told me. The food was so good when Paul asked me while I was enjoying my meal “how do I like the food” all I could do is nod my head yes, as I did not want to pause chewing these delicious creations of Marla the chefNow I’ve have had Tapas many times at many places, but this is something I have never encountered before, which was not only a pleasant surprise but an amazing one as well.

The ambience is something of a treat as well, with antique cameras, books and even a miniature disco ball over the bar. Co-owner Paul describe it as “A road trip between Barcelona and Paris, a vintage road trip by a Harlemite”. The clientele was a mix of young professionals, older couples, young couples, artsy types, but one thing they all had in common was that they were cool, layback, relaxed and friendly! Décor custom Diva chargers greeted all the diners, as Paul partnered with Harlem artist “Ollomatic” to create beautiful art out of vintage chargers, featuring the likes of “Grace Jones”, “Nina Simone” and “Josephine Baker”.

Everyone interacted with each other on one level or another, pleasant and nice, something I have not seen in New York in quite awhile, the main thing was everyone was authentic. This is definitely the place where the “real cool” people come to eat and hang out. It is very difficult to talk about the restaurant without using the words: “Hip, “Cool”, and “Chic”, because this place embodies all this and more, along with the fabulous and delicious food and wine.

It was almost a dream I thought, because you know the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true?” So I walked around the whole place to find some kind of down side that could be mentioned, the kitchen clean and spotless, not a table wasn’t ready for a customer to be seated, bar was on point, then I walked into the bathroom and thought I was in someone’s den! A collection of vintage classic books on the shelf, mirrors, and an antique radio playing WBLS. So no I was not dreaming and there was no downside to this restaurant.


The service was excellent and outstanding by the bartender “Wanthy” and the waitress “Delia” (I dropped a fork and it was replaced so fast by Delia, with a smile) Very professional indeed!

(Delia Gubelmann and Bartender Wanthy Reyes)

I was on my second glass of Paul’s “Vice” Chardonnay and said to him “I don’t think I want to leave”. Paul replied: “You don’t have too”. Life just seemed I bit more pleasant listening to “Let a Woman be a Woman-Let a Man be Man”, “Jungle Love” by the Time, “Keep it Together” by Modonna, and “I Can’t Take It” by Evelyn “Champagne” King, and “Baby Here I Come” by James Brown.  Marla even came from the kitchen to sit at the bar and have a glass of wine with me.  Marla was so easy to talk to, as we discussed how almost everyone lives in the immediate area, all the items on the menu are her recipes, her personal relationship with her girlfriend, like real people having a real conversation! Needless to say I was very impressed with this otherworldly restaurant, I say that because it actually felt like I was eating and drinking in a perfect world.

About that wine! Paul and myself have a love of wines, which we discussed at length, “The wines here are like my children, I know each of them very, very well, I raised them all and brought them all in. I sample many wines and select the best ones for the restaurant. I like to pick the grapes of the wines from the same soil that the food is grown, this is my favored approach.” PEQUE has quite a selection of beers on tap, and carry beer from local brewery’s Harlem, Bronx, and NYC area beers, the best selling beer on tap is the Dyckman Pilsner, which Paul calls a”Dominican German Beer”.  Paul is also a native New Yorker like myself and so we say it like it is. “PEQUE is LGBT owned and operated”, and is a safe place for everyone, they have had product launchings, and weddings at this awesome restaurant.

On Wed nights they have live music, and they are about to launch “Broadway Night”on Monday nights, showcasing Harlem Broadway Performers, open mic night, Harlem Pride night every second Friday from 6-10PM, and during the summer will be hosting a “Outdoor Tango Night”.  This is a perfect place to take a date for dinner and drinks, or catch a drink with you’re buddies, or that significant other, or just chill out by yourself, either way you are going to have a most enjoyable time. When I finally left the restaurant, I could honestly say to myself. “This was one of the best nights out I’ve had in a long time.”




Where to Drink Series: Sottocasa Harlem’s imported Italian Beer’s and Wine’s

Sottocasa is an excellent choice for dinner in Harlem, but this Italian restaurant also has a full service bar serving up imported Italian wine’s as well as beer’s on tab like Moretti, a pale lager brewed in Italy, which has an alcohol content of 4.6%. This well balanced lager is smooth with a crisp malt flavor and has a pleasing aftertaste, which is amazing when paired with pizza.



KIMG1147While I’m a Chardonnay lover at heart, Matteo Prospiti introduced me to Muller Thurgau’s 2012 Sudtiro, an amazing white wine which is a hybrid crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. This wine has a refined aromatic scent of nutmeg and a refreshing after finish reminisced of elder blossoms. I highly recommend this!


The P45 (Doc Lison Pramaggiore) Merlot is sure to become a favorite on Lenox Ave, from north-eastern Italy. The full-bodied red wine carries aromas of deep red berries with subtle but marked notes of spice. A perfect match when paired with Lasagne.



Sottocasa is always serving the best quality wines, and will be be having more of Italy’s best imported beer’s and red/white wines on the way, so stop by and hang out at the bar with friends or that special someone and indulge in a couple of glasses of superior libations found no where else in Harlem.

SottoCasa Harlem: Real Authentic Italian Wood Fired Pizza Comes to the Heart of Harlem


(Matteo and Elena Prospiti)

After four years of opening two Brooklyn locations on Atlantic Ave and Boerum Hill, Sottocasa Pizza now brings authentic real Italian thin crust wood fire baked pizza to the center of Harlem.


I met with Matteo Prospiti and his wife Elena who are managing partners at the newly opened Sottocasa Pizzeria restaurant located at 227 Lenox Ave right in the middle of West 121st Street and was received as if I was family, in fact the restaurant has the look and feel of a Italian villa which makes one feel right at home, and I swear while sitting at the bar drinking sparkling water on a hot summer mid afternoon talking with Matteo my mind drifted for a minute and I actually felt that I was in Italy hanging out with a friend just shooting the breeze. Such was the easy going and friendly manner of Matteo and his lovely wife. Now Sotto Casa translated from the Italian means “Under the Home”, but in Italian it is understood as (near the home) or (in the neighborhood).


Matteo and Elena made all the furnishing for the restaurant themselves, Elena made the wall decorations herself by hand, they made the tables with recycled wood, including the bar!


I had become very fond of the back room dining space with the fantastic skylight roof, which was at one time a garden space but an extra room was build over it sometime in past by former owners.

This Husband and wife team made this restaurant look more like a home than a business, which gives this pizzeria an extreme charm that is hard to find anywhere else in Harlem. They did extensive research on the location in which they opened the restaurant and discovered that it was in the past a soul food chicken place, and a synagogue. When Matteo and his wife first came to Harlem they fell in love with it right away and had the same feeling that many of us harlemites have, that it’s more like a small town that distinguishes itself from the rest of New York.

All the ingredients and recipes for their pizza and food are authentic Italian and fresh, and for an extra four dollars Sottocasa offers Gluten Free Pizza! They take extra care to avoid cross contamination for the safety of their customers.

In addition to real Italian pizza, SottoCasa offers imported Italian beers on tap and bottled, as well as imported Italian wines, red and white. SotoCasa will very soon be offering wine and beer tastings so that Harlemites can fully experience the flavor of Italy.


I left SottoCasa with a smile on my face, as I felt that I just left from a visit with an aunt and uncle in Italy, which is how they make all their customers feel, like family. Ciao SottoCasa!


   (One of Elena’s Handmade wall decoration at SottoCasa)

Ponty Bistro: From Gramercy to Harlem.


Always working in fine dining, Cisse and his cousin/partner Cheileh Cisse wanted to open another restaurant. Since they both lived in Harlem, they felt that would be the perfect location for the next restaurant, and on August 4th 2014 Ponty Bistro Harlem opened it’s doors at 2375 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

Owner and chef “Cisse” along with his cousin moved to Harlem 20 years ago from Senegal, and in 2008 opened Ponty Bistro Gramercy at 218 3rd Ave East 19th street.

Cisse told me that opening a restaurant has always been their dream, and it’s “the only thing we know how to do.” And they do it quite well. While talking with Cisse, I got a sense of the very passionate nature that Cisse channels into his cooking, having worked  as a chef for the famous French restaurant Daniel in midtown Manhattan.


(Katherine moved to Harlem four years ago, here enjoying a drink waiting for dinner)

Cisse describes his fare as “French/African fusion, citing that Ponty Bistro Gramercy  has been very successful for the past nine years. When I asked about the decor, Cisse told me that their vision for the restaurant was to have it very chic and very nice foreveryone. “Wants everyone to come in and have fun with us.”


(“Cisse”owner and chef)

This culinary duo built the restaurant from scratch, and on their best selling dishes, like the crispy tuna and the steak artichoke salad.  also specialty drinks such as the “Senegalese punch”, and the “Biss martini”


(The Crispy Tuna with Artichoke salad)

Before I left Ponty Bistro, Cisse invited back in the kitchen where I got a look at the master at his craft working hard in the kitchen to produce the best possible meal for each and every customer.

Astor Row Café: Uniting the Community as a Family.

On March 1st 2012 Emmanuel (“Manny”) Pena moved to Harlem, and immediately started on opening Astor Row Café, at 404 Lenox Ave on 131st Street. This location which was vacant for four years, was not his first choice, but turned out to be a perfect location. Named after the historic 28 Harlem landmark houses in a “row” on that block, the Café was originally to be just a tea house, but transformed into so much more. Manny in his passion, worked 18 hours a day, doing the construction all by himself, from March 6th to April 21st and opened the café on Earth Day April 22, 2012 (The day after hurricane Sandy). Manny said “I wanted to open a place that is safe and laid back for everyone.” That concept led to the motto “be nice or go home”, which is also the password for the free Wi-Fi in the Café.


Manny Pena believes that Astor Row Café is more than a coffee shop, but by working as community can make a difference for everyone in the neighborhood, such as the free promotion of local artists, and family values. Manny feels that people need to “become more human” and needs to refrain from letting technology take over their lives.KIMG1062

What started out as a coffee-tea house, he started to serve food in the Café. When I asked how that came about he told me that “I started cooking for my kids”, so he began selling cup-cakes, than omelets, and after that whatever his customers wanted, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and breakfast. In all of the food, they use 90% organic and sustainable ingredients.

  (Manny making me my favorite latte, he always remembers how I like it. Perfect!)

As for the décor, Manny started out with a very downtown trendy look, (“I wanted one big beam from the ceiling, with everything else centered around it”) comfortable plush booths, funky art décor chairs and tables, but in the last year and a half has made it more of an industrial look.

( Chelsea Goding and Neil from the Harlem Art’s Festival)

I asked why he changed to a more ridged uncomfortable setting, he told me that “I listened to the business” and went from a seating of 33-56 to a seating of 50-70. Making all the wood fixtures in the café by hand, all the wood used was taken from a barn in Monticello Virginia, and an old trout factory, which is all “American Oak wood.”

Downstairs in the basement, Manny has created what he calls the “Nursery” were he supports about 50 local artists, giving workshops like, glass, metal wielding, ceramic, and wood shops.

When I asked “Manny” what he was most proud of, he answered “the community that we were able to build.” Manny created a “go-fund” for a disabled customer whose wheelchair broke, and raised $5,000 to get him a new one. On Thanksgiving Manny gave away 1,000 meals to the local homeless, aids patients, and battered woman shelters. Manny is not only a pleasure to know, but also is very in touch with his customers. You can find him often playing ball with his customers children outside in front of the Café, or walking around the shop holding customers babies as if they were his own kids.

(Barista’s Betty Etheredge and Junior Lopez)

Astor Row Café has used a number of coffee providers, such as Irving Farm, Stump town and La Colome, but about two years ago they started blending/Roasting their own coffee, after careful studying and experimenting with the many aspects of the process to create their own perfect blend.

                                                             (Be Nice or Go Home!)

Little Bamboo Harlem: Fusion Sushi Bar and Lounge opens on Lenox Ave.

The latest addition to Lenox Ave in Harlem is the chic new fusion sushi bar and lounge Little Bamboo Express Sushi Bar. Opened Jan 16th on 119th Street & Lenox Ave, this Neo-Retro styled restaurant is making waves with Harlemites.


On the left side of this new Harlem restaurant is the sushi express bar and small but very eastern dining area which will made you feel like you’re in Japan for sure.

On the right side of walking in the door, is the very chic “Neo-Retro” bar and lounge area (a mixture of east and west) that inspires a good time.

The Food:
Serving Rice bowls with your choice of rice and “protein” (Beef, Chicken, Edamame Falafel, Shrimp and Salmon) and sauce (Teriyaki, Lemongrass Green Curry and Peanut-Red Curry).

6 piece Sushi rolls and Sashimi 2 piece. Special 8 piece rolls, like the Tuna Amazing roll, Coconut Shrimp roll, Harlem roll (with black pepper tuna, lettuce, cream cheese topped with soy caramel). Little Bamboo also offers Vegetarian Rolls, such as the Amazon Roll, Peruvian Roll, Kimsha Roll and the Tropical Soul Roll.

The salads they offer include the Bali Salad, Salmon Quinoa-Seaweed Salad, as well as vegan salads like the Vegan Salad and the Green Papaya Salad.

Bar Lounge:

At the bar you can enjoy a host of beers and red and white wines, and specialty  signature drinks like the “She’s so beautiful” and the “Harlem Swing”. Owner Jodi Solomon who is always helpful and walking around with a smile, has created another wonderful and fun place to eat and drink in Harlem. Little Bamboo is bound to be the latest Lenox Ave hot hangout and party spot.

Harlem Shake Continues to Evolve as a Harlem Icon.

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//
For photos of the private event: #Harlemburgerwinefest