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Local Feature: Harlem Underground


745 Queen St W, Toronto

With a wall-mural/graffitied glass hallway and red interior walls, Harlem looks like how you'd expect a restaurant in Harlem to look: cultured-chic, friendly and somewhere you'd want to spend a few good hours with friends and wholesome Southern cooking.

Cajun Tempura Fried Okra

Of all the fascinating side dishes on the menu ( fried plantains, candied yams, bacon mac n' cheese, collard greens,) we had to try the deep fried okra.  Arriving piping hot, and with plenty enough to go around, it did not disappoint.  Granted, okra is not for everyone...the slimy texture and odd taste is certainly something to acquire.  I, for one, love okra and have had it in many forms, so this was just another lovely treat for me.

Harlem Benny Poached eggs, chili-garlic greens, atop a sausage and grits flap jack along with cheesy hollandaise

R who had this dish, was worried that the portion size and the density of a grit flap jack would be too heavy since she'd already eaten breakfast, but the flap jack was light and the eggs perfectly poached.

Mile High Jawny Toast Three egg-dipped thick slices of egg loaf drizzled with maple syrup, crushed pecans and fresh fruit

OMG you guys.  Undoubtedly the best FT I've had to date!  THICK, yet fluffy slices of bread and an absolutely mouth-watering, nutty, berry sauce on top.  While splitting this dish with A who ordered the fried chicken and waffles, I ended up with a smorgasbord of salty (fried chicken) and sweet (waffles and french toast) goodness on my plate (usually how I like to eat things - all on one plate) which was wiped clean with the last bite of toast. 

Southern Fried Chicken & Waffle With a Chipolte-corriander-lime maple syrup

Speaking of the Fried Chicken and waffles, does four pieces of chicken sound enough to you?! Thank goodness we were sharing!  What portions are these, my friends?  Amazing!  The chipotle-corriander-lime maple syrup was an excellent accompaniment to the waffles (which unfortunately lacked that fresh-out-of-the-waffle-iron heat).

Yam & Yukon Potato Hash Topped with a sunny side up egg cooked with spicy sausage, served with biscuits and greens

We all agreed, the potato hash was incredible!  Especially with the spicy sausage.

Veggie Omelette Sweet peppers, onions, mushroom and spinach

N who got this dish said even with the cheese it was a tad bland for her taste.

And none of us cared much for the sweet potato biscuits accompanying the omelettes.  They weren't warm or soft enough and had the texture of a scone; fairly dry.  I think with everything else going on in the dish, the side biscuit came cross as rather plain in comparison.  Regardless, I wish it had been better 'cause there's nothing like a hot biscuit!

Still, with any personal requests (ie. cheese in the omlette, collard greens instead of spinach) there were no hesitations to comply, in fact suggestions were made to accommodate dietary concerns, if possible.  Our server, Jen, imparted just the right measure of attentiveness without being intrusive.

Oh, and a shout-out the to the low-ceilinged washrooms, which we figured is the "underground" part of Harlem Underground. We all emerged from it as if we were the (recently rescued) miners. (Yay, miners!) :)

But in all seriousness, HU is such a wonderfully warm and friendly place, I would not hesitate to return. And with a group of seven, the verdict was unanimous: come hungry, and leave content!

Harlem Underground on Urbanspoon

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