Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I couldn't get D.O.C.'s song out of my head the entire time I wrote this. That album is the shit so stop sleeping and check it out if you haven't in a while.
The Doc is back. Well, he's not really a doctor, but his name is Carl Redding and he's back uptown. Actually, he's a sneakerhead, featured in magazines years ago. After opening Amy Ruth's on 116th St. in 1998 and spending almost 10 years there, he crossed the river and opened Ruthie Mae's in Englewood, NJ. That closed in mid-2008 and he's back where it all started, basically exactly where it started- about a block west.
I noticed Doc's during some Friday midday cruising uptown and came back later in the day to try it out. It opened in mid February. Unlike Redding's previous ventures, Doc's is take-out only. I wouldn't say the 2 stools by the window justify the spot as a sit-down establishment. When you walk in, desserts are in the glass cooler to your left and the steam table is straight ahead stocked with many of the sides and entrees. The menu is posted high on the wall and serves all the soul staples. Not 100% sure with what I was in the mood for, I played it safe and ordered the fried chicken dinner with mac & cheese and 4 green stew aka collard greens. I was interested in the oyster dinner but need to trust a place before I order seafood, especially oysters. You know I needed to get that banana pudding and had to try the "sweet tea." Many places in NYC offer what they refer to as sweet tea ($3 for 16 oz.), but more often than not it falls short, very short. I'm glad to say that Doc's sweet tea was the real deal. Put the sugar in while it steeps and magic happens. You can taste the bitterness of the tea leave and the sugar. A lot of sugar. How has this shit not become popular outside of the south?
The chicken dinner cost $10.95 and came with 2 legs and a thigh. The sides were more than ample, each the size of a hefty ice cream scoop. The chicken was of a golden orange hue and crisp. There was mild spice in the batter and for the most part the chicken was moist. One of the legs was a bit dry. I love legs but this chicken was kind of skinny. The thigh was the best part and I usually hate thighs- on chickens, I mean poultry. I feel more spices and flavor could have been incorporated into the mix, but it was far from offensive. The mac and cheese was very generous with the cheese and salt. I fuck with the salt and enjoyed this a lot. Lately a lot of the mac and cheese I've had has been lacking the sodium. The greens were cooked with smoked turkey (BOOOOOO!!!!) and full of flavor. No tough or twiney pieces. And plenty of bites of turkey meat. In all honesty I prefer chunks of turkey than fatty neck bone or ham hock.
The banana pudding was on point ($3). Full of whole slices of banana and a lot of nilla wafers. Instead of the banana being sliced the short way in circles, Doc's sliced it the long way. Just an observation. Didn't affect the taste or enjoyment of it one bit. Packed tight into the container, this lasted me for 2 days. I get big eyes when I see banana pudding. After all the food it's tough to knock this off too. Beach weather's around the corner- ya dig?
If I'm in the area I'd definitely try Doc's again. Come nicer weather, getting a meal to go and hitting Central Park/Harlem Meer sounds like the move. The website below is under construction and as of Friday night there were no take-out menus. As mentioned earlier they've been open for about a month, but come on- get your shit together. But the place was packed and people kept coming in to place orders. I believe Doc's is swine free and unlike most soul food spots they're stressing health with several salads on the menu. I find it interesting that Redding returned to the same area to compete with his original place, Amy Ruth's. Maybe he has some unfinished business to attend to. Whatever the case, the locals appear happy to have him back.
1902 Seventh Ave. (Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.) between 115th and 116th Sts.
NY, NY 10026
Sun - Wed 11 am- 9 pm
Thu - Sat 11 am- 12 am
Subway- 2/3 train to 116th St.- walk one block west or B/C to 116th St.- walk one block east
Here's a little something from Harlem's own Ron G aka the Youngest DJ in Charge. Tape # 12 from 1993. You know it's chock full of blends. In general a bit too down tempo for me, but it's always nice to hear scratching and blending.
Ron G # 12 Side A
Ron G # 12 Side B