The Cecil

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I’m not always uptown, so, I sometimes slack on all the great places that are there. But, this past weekend, I was in Harlem and got to experience dinner at The Cecil. This Afro-Asian-American brasserie (yes, it’s quite the combo) opens into a cocktail bar, with some seating in a cozy environment. Then, through the passageway, it opens up into the main dining room, chic, with large, beautiful paintings around the space. 

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To drink, I ordered the Blood and Fire (Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila, Jamaican Sorrel, Fresh Lemon Juice). Now, I was a little confused when the drink wasn’t spicy, as its namesake would infer. Where’s the fire? Luckily, our bartender was quick to recommend the addition of some chili peppers to make all that happen. So, I usually love spicy tequila drinks, but, perhaps adding this chili into the drink may have altered its intended taste. Next time, I might try it as is, or, go for the Thai 75, which sounded really great. 

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To start, we had their Spicy Crispy Ginger Squid (Okra, Sweet Chili Peanut Sauce). This was awesome. I love squid, spice, peanut sauce, well, ok, all of these ingredients, so it wasn’t hard to decide on this one. It was really delicious, the squid was fried just right, not too much breading, but just enough to hold the drizzles of sweet chili peanut sauce, which gave it a little kick and smoothed out the flavor at the same time. 

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For my entree, I ordered Citrus Jerk Wild Striped Bass (African Fonio, Okra, Burst Tomatoes, Parsnip Purée). I really enjoyed this dish as well. The bass was tender and delicate, absorbing the savory, yet subtle flavors from the other components. It was my first time having fonio, a grain, which to me was a bit similar to small grain couscous. Set atop the creamy parsnip puree, the textures of all the ingredients went really well together.  

The Shorts:
Name: The Cecil
Location: 210 West 118 Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the vibe here is really great and the service was excellent.
Would I recommend it? I mean, how many places have you gone to that are serving Afro-Asian-American fare? Exactly. So, yes, I would recommend checking it out. Lots of options and flavors to choose from. 

 

Clover Club

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“Who enters here leaves care behind, leaves sorrow behind, leaves petty envies and jealousies behind.” That’s the original Clover Club motto from 1882. A place with history is always great, but what’s even greater is when the new edition serves fancy cocktails and food. I went to Clover Club in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

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Upon entering, you almost feel like you’ve entered a time warp to the 1920’s. The lights are very dim, and the wall is lined with old school, plush, leather booth seating. The main focus is on the cocktails, but they have delicious food as well for snacks, or a meal. I started with a drink, the Bellevue Stratford (Mezcal, pear brandy, lemon, egg white, Peychaud’s bitters). This was really great. The drink starts off light and a bit sweet, but has that nice, smokey finish from the Mezcal, taking away a bit of that sweetness to even tones out. 

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To eat, I ordered their House Cured Scottish Salmon (Scottish Salmon cured with beet and dill, served with potato cakes, poppy seed creme fraiche and herb salad). This was a delicious little dish. I would have preferred for the herb salad to be served more on the side, because the bold pink color of the salmon is so pretty, and you have to make your way through the salad first to see it. I guess it’s one way of getting you to eat your veggies. However, the salad is very nice and I really liked the poppy seed creme fraiche dressing. It’s a bit rich, and creamy, giving a nice contrast to the pepperiness of the herbs. The salmon was delicious, and it’s generously topped on the crispy, savory potato cakes. 

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Here’s a sneak peak of the salmon in it’s glory. 

The Shorts:
Name: Clover Club
Location: 210 Smith Street, Brooklyn 
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the cocktails are really delightful and the food was tasty. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, the ambiance is really lovely, the service is great, and it’s definitely the perfect type of cozy place to escape the cold weather.