5/18/2012 10:15:00 AM

First Look: Corner Social Adds to Harlem's Hotness

The Harlem blocks around 125th Street and Lenox Avenue are hot. Sylvia’s has been anchoring this lively neighborhood for years, dishing out fantastic soul food to faithful locals and tourists. Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster and speakeasy Ginny's Supper Club are both in full swing with people lining up at all hours of the day. Throw in French bistro Chez Lucienne’s bustling patio on the same block, and New Yorkers can’t get enough of this 'hood. Now just in time for summer another newcomer has been added to the mix with Corner Social, the vision of Harlem residents Anahi Angelone and executive chef Jonathan Romans.

The eatery started off with a little hiccup over its name. Originally called Lenox Social, they rebranded the establishment after the manager of the famous Lenox Lounge just down the street complained about possible trademark infringement. We had a chance to take a first look at Corner Social last night at their grand opening party, and despite the minor controversy over the moniker, the place was swinging with packed crowds spilling onto the sidewalk patio and a live jazz band setting the mood. We tried several tasty bites including the panko fried lobster mac and cheese as well as a couple of cocktails (surprise, surprise) like the gin based Social Fix and the bourbon and mint winner Renaissance Honey.

The menu is small, but prices are reasonable with entrées capping off at the $20 mark, and they'll be open for brunch offering soul food riffs like fried chicken and pancakes. The bread is sourced from the non-profit bakery Hot Bread Kitchen just a few blocks away at La Marqueta, and they'll be working with other local Harlem businesses to create a friendly community vibe. With the red hot Rooster right across the street, Corner Social will certainly grab some of the overflow crowd, but if the solid dishes continue to come out of the kitchen and the tasty cocktails keep flowing, then expect Corner Social to gain a dedicated Uptown following of their own.


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