HARLEM, NYC | For a city that's known for "never sleeping", it is a near disappoint that so few restaurants forget that it means it never stops eating either. And as my days now start at 4, 5, 6 in the morning—instead of ending at those hours—I find remarkable how few dining options are available in the morning besides from bodegas and diners.
Very few all-day-and-night restaurants offer breakfast—even most weekend brunches don't start until 11am. So how refreshing it is to know that one of my favorite burger joints, Harlem Shake, starts offering breakfast as early as 8am, seven days a week.
Among the breakfast specials items are the Harlem-staple chicken & waffles, as well as blueberry pancakes, red velvet french toast, and a sweet potato hash & egg dish called the Harlem Hangover (which should really be called the Harlem Hangover Helper, but that's just me nitpicking.)
I decided long before I even arrived there that I was having the shrimp & sausage grits.
A dish that can easily suffer from being either overthought or underwhelming, Harlem Shake executes successfully creamy yet still "toothsome" grits, just cooked through shrimp with great grill char-flavored edges, and bright, chopped fresh scallions. The sausage seems to be a diced pork sausage patty, but adds great salt hints, savory notes, and some layers of spice that round out each forkful to my great satisfaction.
And I got to enjoy this with some fresh fruit and a mango iced tea, all while watching the sun come up and over a beautiful Harlem church just a block away.
And as the morning sunlight through Harlem Shake's large window helped keep my meal warm, the hearty, familiar, southern comfort of this dish were the spiritual sunshine with which to start my own day.
HARLEM SHAKE | 100 West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027 | (212) 222-8300 | harlemshakenyc.com