First Look: Marcus Samuelsson Opens Streetbird Rotisserie This Thursday in Harlem

By Kelly Dobkin  |  March 31, 2015
Credit: Liz Clayman

Photos by Liz Clayman

The gist: Red Rooster owner and face-of-Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson is gracing his beloved neighborhood with a brand-new eatery this Thursday called Streetbird Rotisserie, a kitchenette inspired by his upbringing in both Sweden and Ethiopia in a space heavily reflective of his current neighborhood's past.

The food: Bird's the word here as spiced, rotisserie-roasted chickens are the main event, served up in quarter, half and whole cuts both for eat-in and takeout, with an array of seriously addictive sauces for dipping including sweet soy, barbecue, jerk, hot sauce and more. We got a taste of some of the dishes Marcus was testing back in February and many of them made their way onto the opening menu (with some variations) including the Sno' Nuff Noodles: stir-fried noodles, cabbage, scallions and choice of chicken, shrimp, or tofu; the Bird Broth with roasted veggies, kimchi and crumbled nori; the Tack Tack tacos (housemade fermented tortilla with a variety of fillings); and the Sweet Dog, a take on the classic Swedish dessert eaten on Shrove Tuesday made with brioche, almond paste and whipped cream. For the veggie-focused, there's the Fly Girl salad (pictured below) made with black kale, romaine, green beans, toasted rice and lime-coconut dressing (top it with proteins including tofu). Check out the full menu below. Delivery is also planned in the coming weeks.

The namesake bird

Fly Girl salad with tofu

The space: The funky, colorful space was inspired by the Harlem graffiti culture of the '70s, '80s and '90s. Repurposed wood and West African fabrics line the banquettes while Harlem church pews have been recovered in vintage designer cloth like Louis Vuitton and Gucci and turned into benches. The space was designed by both Samuelsson and Derek Fleming and also contains custom graffiti art from former Def Jam Recordings creative director and artist Cey Adams as well as a collage from Anthony Vasquez (aka AVONE) that layers historic images of Harlem life along the floors. Photos from acclaimed shooter Janette Beckman line the walls, including a 1984 portrait of Run D.M.C. Vintage boom boxes mounted onto walls (including one from Samuelsson's own childhood in Sweden) play interviews from notable New York personalities via headphones (pictured below). 

The drinks: Beverage options range from fresh juices like the Big and Kim (collard greens, apple, and ginger) to cocktails like the Juicy Fruit (vodka, mango purée and pickle juice). Beer, wine and other tipples including a Cool Like That Michelada (lime, beer, sweet soy, hot sauce and candied ginger rim) round out the offerings.

Old-school boom boxes

The details: 2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd.; 212-206-2557. Opens Thursday, April 2. Hours 11:30 AM-10 PM.

Streetbird Menu