NYC Dining: Amy Ruth’s

Amy Ruth’s Restaurant
113 W 116th St, New York, NY
(212) 280-8779

I happen to be a big fan of Soul Food and Southern cuisine, but I have to admit, I don’t eat much of it around here, save for a few barbecue places that I like to go to (1) (2). Quite frankly I tend to save my Fried Chicken and Smothered Pork Chops, Cornbread and Greens for when I am travelling to places like New Orleans, North Carolina and Atlanta, because there’s not much great Southern food to go around in New York City.

I think I might need to re-consider my position on this, however. Recently I had a chance to attend a event upstairs at Amy Ruth’s, a rather well-known Soul Food place in Harlem. After the event, Rachel and I decided to head downstairs and check out what was being served in the main dining room.

Despite torrential rainfall that evening, Amy Ruth’s was utterly packed — a testament as to how good this soul food place really is.

The warm cornbread was of the dense, sweet type. Definitely one of the better versions I’ve had.

Every item on the menu is named after a prominent Black American. The first item in the Waffles section, Fried Chicken and Waffles, is appropriately named “The Reverend Al Sharpton”

Smothered Fried Pork Chops, with a rich gravy. Served with Mac and Cheese and Yams. Rachel begged for the yams recipe, but couldn’t coax it out of them.

Honey Dipped fried Chicken with Greens and Mac ‘n Cheese. Its a big chicken breast, deep fried, and then dipped in honey. I have to say that this is probably one of the best fried chickens served in the city, albeit at $14 a plate. The greens are some of the best I’ve had anywhere, and they are actually a bit on the spicy side, with a good touch of vinegar and hot chile pepper in them.

Here’s a closer look.

Mmmm. Juicy.

11 Responses to NYC Dining: Amy Ruth’s

  1. LindaNYCSEA says:

    I’m leaving for NYC tomorrow and Amy Ruth’s was on my list so I’m so glad to see you liked it. My friend,however, said that I should be going to Sylvias instead……have you been there?

  2. I haven’t been to Sylvia’s yet. However, everything that I have heard about it within recent memory is that the place is resting on its laurels and their food is not what it used to be.

  3. Polecat says:

    Sylvia’s – while deserving of respect for providing the neighborhood with years of delicious food from the heart, as well as being a boon to the community – is, indeed, not what it used to be. When in Harlem, I would head to any number of places, amongst them the M&G Diner on 125th or Londell’s, which, during the week, serves up Fried Chicken and Waffles for about 8 bucks. I’m not saying that the food is bad at Sylvia’s, but the best reason to check it out these days is for historical significance.

  4. D. Bell says:

    It looks fantastic. I wasn’t overly impressed with it personally and have recently found some new additions to the “soul food” restaurant arena that might be giving Amy Ruth’s some stiff competition and are less crowded.

  5. ieatkimchi says:

    damn that looks good. too bad i’m in l.a.

  6. Barbara says:

    Sylvia`s was a major disappointment, 3 years ago. The food was really blah. On the other hand, the drinks were strong and delicious[gin & tonic]

  7. Dell says:

    Personally speaking, I remember Sylvia’s from the 70’s when I was very young and modeling with the Covette Mag. Co. on 125th, next to the Apollo. It was so good during those times.

    I took my adult daughter there about 3 years back for her to taste my Harlem roots, and I did not enjoy the food at all. I’m a great soul food cook myself, even cook for family and friends events when they request certain dishes. My house is always the hang out (when I have time) because of my cooking (I use to think they really liked me :o)).

    With that said, I guess I may be a little more picky than most, but I’m searching for a new Harlem hang out to bring some of my performing arts students for the experience. I think I will try Amy Ruths. I just saw them on TV.

  8. Gailika says:

    Amy Ruth’s is delicious and the service is great as well. The only problem I have with it is that the tables are too close together! I get confused on who I’m dining with!! Request to sit upstairs, if possible. Much more spacious. As for Sylvia’s, its just a bunch of hype in my opinion. The food is mediocre and the service is poor to fair. There’s a dining area off from the main dining room that has very little air circulation. So if you go there during the summer – you’re hit. I was literally beaded with sweat. In my opinion that is unacceptable in an establishment that brings in the revenue that Sylvia’s does.

  9. Sway says:

    My husband & I spent New Years Even in NYC this year. NO ONE could have prepared us for Amy Ruth’s on a cold day in January. Walking and shopping in Harlem, we stopped at UPS to mail gifts home. We were starving, so we asked the UPS agent where’s the best place to eat nearby. He promptly directed us across the street to Amy Ruth’s. First, we were stunned how closed-in we felt. Tables so close we could hear other’s conversations! ohhh NYC! However, our southern discomfort soon changed to OMG! I believe we started talking to everyone in the packed lunch hour crowd. We were amazed at how sinfully GOOD the food was. We never had chicken & waffles TOGETHER; the yams made my husband cry, because it reminded him of his mother’s; the mac/cheese gave me a mindgasm; the cornbread – indescribable and OMG the freakin tea! NOTHING was wrong with anything we ate. The servers were pleasant and I was ready to pack & move to NYC!

  10. Rae says:

    I’m a native Texan and I thought we did it good and big down here!! Boy, was I wrong. The food was so dang good and the waiter really knew his stuff. I had the catfish and mac and cheese. It was great. Will be there soon!!!

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