April 6, 2011

Lunch @ Harlem Underground

 For some strange reason, my friend and I were weirdly excited about having lunch at Harlem Underground. In fact, we were so excited that we knew exactly what we wanted to order even before we walked in! Though I don't have a lot of experience with eating soul food, anything deep fried always holds a dear place in my heart.
We arrived around 11 am, and there was only one waitress serving all the tables. We were horrified to be informed that lunch was only served after 12 pm, since nothing on the brunch menu really appealed to us. Luckily, the kitchen obliged to serve us items from the lunch menu, and major disappointment was averted! On a side note, I really like their presentation of the menu on a disc.
Sides are mostly ordered à la carte here, so we got a whole bunch of them to supplement our meal. First up, deep fried pickles, served with zesty scallion mayonnaise. Unfortunately, the batter didn't really adhere to the pickles and fell off really easily, so this was a difficult snack to maneuver. The mayo dip was also a little runny for my liking.
Next came the Harlem cornbread, which was an absolute delight! Mildly sweet, dense and moist, the cornbread was perfect with the salted butter. I loved the savoury and sweet combination, and the salt in the butter really brought out that innate sweetness in the cornbread. I couldn't help eating many pieces of this (when I should've wisely packed some of it home).
Can't have southern food without some mac-n-cheese! I've read many positive reviews on Harlem's mac-n-cheese, but this one didn't exactly live up to my expectations. In fact, it tasted like Kraft dinner. Perhaps my palate for mac-n-cheese isn't too well-refined, but I much prefer the gourmet version at O&B Café Grill. Nevertheless, mac-n-cheese is mac-n-cheese, and it tastes good even when it's Kraft dinner (in small doses only though). By the time I was having my second spoonful, I already felt like I was in a food coma.
And the winner of the day goes to...the Harlem: A grilled three layer sammy of black forest ham, jerk chicken salad, avocado, mango mayo and jalapeño Havarti on a challah toast. When this sandwich arrived, I almost gasped in awe- the portion was huge! I'd seen a picture of this sandwich on Harlem's website, and that sandwich looked a lot tinier than this one. I loved the combination of the different textures and flavours of each ingredient. The avocado (my favourite) added a perfect layer of creaminess to this delectable concoction. The best part? The sandwich came with sweet potato fries, which I love, love, love! The intense, sweet flavour of the yam really shone through the fries. We left extremely full and satisfied, and I even felt slightly dizzy from all that deep fried goodness! I'll definitely be coming back again for their famous fried chicken!
Harlem Underground on Urbanspoon


  1. So I went to Harlem on Queen St East on Tuesday and there was a slight difference between the two restaurants. I ordered Montreal jazz and the Cajun okra and Sandy ordered fish and chips and deep fried pickles cause she never had deep fried pickles before. We both got sweet potato fries with our entrees. So the deep fried pickles was a slightly smaller portion than the one in your picture (there were six half pickles, and no I didn't count, I just remember eating three which was half the dish cause we shared)and same with the okra, there was 6 pieces. Taste-wise it was the same. I didn't try the fish and chips but it looks normal. The Montreal jazz was such a disappointment. I tasted the bread more than the actual fillings. I think the bread is the same bread as the Harlem but for the Harlem you can actually taste the fillings! But ya, if I ever go back and I have a choice, definitely sticking to the west side!

  2. Omg I miss Harlem Underground! I want to go back now!



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