A Soul Food Dinner At Sylvia’s

Last night we went to the famous Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem.  Sylvia describes herself — on the menu, at least — as the”Queen of Soul Food,” and if every member of royalty performed as capably as she does we might all still be living under monarchies.

We decided to go all in on the soul food experience.  We began with catfish fingers and chicken livers with Sylvia’s brown gravy.  The catfish fingers were light and well fried, and the chicken livers, served with onions and some fine gravy, were exceptionally good.  The brown gravy in particular was a revelation; I could easily have sopped up every bit of that rich goodness with cornbread, gobbled it down, and been quite happy about making a spectacle of myself.

For an entree I had fried chicken (a leg and thigh), with mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese as my sides, and some corn bread.  I love fried chicken, and Sylvia’s version showed me why.  The chicken was moist and well seasoned; I ate it with my hands and enjoyed licking my fingers afterward.  (Russell ate his chicken with a knife and fork, but I think a fundamental part of the fried chicken experience lies in using your hands.)  I topped off the meal with a tasty, and locally brewed, Sugar Hill draft beer.

Sylvia’s food was great, and packed a real “stick to your ribs” punch.  After the meal we hauled ourselves out of our chairs and walked back to the Columbia campus area though the busy Harlem streets, enjoying the holiday decorations.

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