January 3, 2013

Harlem Underground



If you follow me on instagram, I know what this looks like.... but I swear to you I am not on a fried chicken binge! I just happen to have a really soft spot for fried chicken .. especially when it comes with waffles!





My friend Nancy absolutely loves Harlem Underground and I thought Joanna's birthday would be a great chance for all of us to get together and chow down on some southern grub! We ordered corn bread ($5),  cajun fried okra ($5), Seafood fondue ($10.95), catfish lafayette ($9.95), and deep fried pickles ($5) to start. 

The corn bread was moist, and had nice sweet niblets of fresh corn throughout but the portion was tiny for five bucks! All the fried items weren't at all greasy and had a nice crunch to them. The dipping sauces were your average sweet chilli and spicy aioli. The okra, I would have preferred chopped up and battered though. The seafood fondue was probably the tables favourite. It was very flavourful but more of a soup & bread kind of dish then a "fondue". 
Now onto the reason we all came here.. the fried chicken! I (surprisingly) decided to go with the jambalaya instead but I had a few large bites of the chicken and although it wasn't greasy and the meat was still juicy, I found the flavour of the batter to be a little bland. The waffles I'm told were pretty good. 

The southern fried chicken ($16.95)  was served with collard greens, coconut rice & peas or mac & cheese. I'm not a fan of collard greens so I stayed away from those but the rice was very bland and had no coconut flavour at all. The mac and cheese on the other hand was pretty good. Very simple recipe, executed well. Nothing too fancy or mind blowing, but still good. 
My jambalaya ($19.95) was good but could have been great. The flavours were there, but could have easily been bumped up a notch or two. The quality of the sausage, shrimp, and catfish didn't really add up to the $19.95 price tag. I wish  the catfish and sausage were cut into bigger chunks. It would have made a bigger impact in the overall dish.  Because everything was chopped up fairly small, you couldn't really figure out what you were digging into. They could have also added less shrimp, but use a higher quality. 
My friend says the Queen Street location is slightly different so I am definitely willing to give that location a try. Overall I'll probably only head back if I happen to be in the area. The place was very small, and our server was a little "wishy washy". She was either new to serving or really shy. She didn't touch base with us after she dropped off the food and after asking us whether we wanted our bills separate or together, she still couldn't remember who ordered what. I wasn't expecting four star service, but the service would have been more forgiving if she was more friendlier. 

My apologies for the quality of the pictures, the restaurant was very dark!

Harlem Underground
67 Richmond Street East
Toronto, On
www.harlemrestaurant.com
Harlem Underground on Urbanspoon


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