Location: 325 Malcolm X Blvd, New York 10027
Cuisine: Creole Caribbean
Best Dish: Lobster. Mac. And. Cheese.
Overall: A sexy relaxed restaurant and lounge featuring fabulous food and a laid back vibe.
It took years of planning and a brief stint on reality TV to get Cove Lounge up and running. Food Network Fans may recall the saga of owner Alyah Horsford-Sidberry from Bobby Flay’s 3 Days To Open. In the five years since the episode aired, Horsford’s Cove Lounge has gained a stellar reputation and loyal following within the community. Harlem isn’t just a trendy location for Alyah, she grew up there, for her Harlem is home. As a product of the suddenly trending neighborhood, Alyah is one of many long-time residents who hope to preserve Harlem’s Legacy. If you ever get the chance to chat with her you’ll find her brimming with hometown pride. Alyah is often at Cove Lounge, mingling with the customers and assisting the staff. “I have to keep an eye on it; it’s my legacy,” she says with a smile, “I hope to pass it on to my children one day”, Cove Lounge occupies premium space among some of Harlem’s most prestigious restaurants. “The location was a no brainer, she laughs,” It was actually opening that was hard. The show was a blessing. I learned a lot from the experience. I knew what I wanted but the show gave me the final push we needed to get the doors open.” In creating the menu Alyah drew on her own heritage for inspiration. “Half of my family is Southern and the other is from the Carribean. The menu is a combination of my two halves. The best of both worlds.” In creating the concept for the lounge, Horsford wanted a classy sophisticated dining experience. Cove Lounge was designed with lush furnishings and glittering chandeliers, hand picked by Alyah herself. The space is much larger than it appears from outside, boasting seasonal outdoor seating, a cozy dining room, a lounge in the rear with a VIP section and a lower level room with bar and Dj set up for private events. One of the biggest staples of their weeknight calendar is their Carribean Thursday’s featuring drink specials and sets by guest DJ’s. Before we could even consider enjoying the nightlife we had to sample some of the goodies from the kitchen.
Chicken and Red Velvet Waffles
Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely! The fried chicken is drizzled with a balsamic reduction adding an extra punch of sour flavor. A peppery jalapeno syrup and sweet strawberry butter are provided for the tasty red waffles.
Greens and fried fish are a southern tradition, and Cove presents these flavors in a pair of fish sliders. Fresh whiting is fried and placed on a bun with greens and a sumptuous Creole sauce.
Sweet buttery lump crab meat and spices combine for this Caribbean-inspired treat.
Cove Wings in hoisin sauce are you next food addiction. The outside is crunchy and the inside juicy and moist. The sauce is finger-licking fantastic.
If you have never tried Brussel sprouts this is a grand introduction. Fresh Brussels sprouts are tossed in a balsamic glaze with mint, cherries, pears, and pistachios. The flavors are intense and vary from smoky to sour to sweet with every bite.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
The lobster mac is one the most popular dishes at Cove Lounge and for good reason; it’s amazing. It is creamy, decadent and filling with generous chunks of real lobster. This cheesy masterpiece is topped with a buttery crumb topping adding just a little texture.
For a strong drink with a little bite, we recommend the Rye Harlem. This is made with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Dutch’s Bitter and fresh lime juice.
This spin on a classic mint julep features Brugal Extra Viejo, Pinot Grigio, and mints. The flavor combination is sweet and fragrant with an assertive finish.
This is the ultimate summer beverage. It is a refreshing and cooling mix of tequila, cucumber, basil and fresh lime juice.
Historically Harlem was the place to be. Poets, writers, and musicians lived and worked in the neighborhood unified they cultivated a space unlike any other. Though change is inevitable it doesn’t mean giving up the true spirit of Harlem and the people who call it home. Cove Lounge is a space devoted to keeping Harlem’s soul while ushering in a new era of nightlife and dining.
Head over to covelounge.com for more information.