L’ouveture de Harlem’s Cedric’s Restaurant était une nuit à se rappeler (an unforgetable evening). Cedric opens with a bang! The who’s who of Harlem popped in Monday evening to welcome Harlem’s newest addition. The crowd included local residents and business owners, curious visitors from other parts of the city, and celebrities including Chris Noth of Law & Order, Mr. Big of Sex and the City.
The friendly General Manager Dard Coaxum and the attentive staff were all doing their best to maneuver the crowds. I was with two friends and we all had a great experience. I first wrote about Cedric’s for HarlemCondoLife back in June, Cedric Harlem, and I am impressed with their finished product.
We spoke with Cedric and we asked what brought him to Harlem. He expressed his passion for Harlem and its people and that he wanted to open something in the neighborhood where he lives.
In terms of the food the portions were substantial and the dishes magnifique. I had the Fois Gras appetizer and the Grilled Salmon which comes with Ratatouille (I requested a substitution for mashed potatoes which was gladly met) and it was perfectly cooked and a generous serving. I recommend it and would have it again. My friend had the Foie Gras Ravioli and the Pan Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce and Gratin Dauphinois. Absolutely delicious. My second friend enjoyed the Red Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and the Sauteed Seabass with White Rice and Provencale Sauce. Popular dishes at the surrounding tables were the Fish and Chips and also the Mussels which smelled incredible. Cedric has a variety of five choices for those of you who enjoy Mussels. You can have them prepared with white wine and shallots, Tomato and Garlic, Old Fashioned Mustard and Cream or Ginger Lemon Grass.
I loved the service and the attentiveness of Cedric, his business partner Fabian, the manager and our lovely waitress. This kind of service coupled with perfect food will go a long way to ensuring success.
My only suggestion is that they start taking reservations. They will definitely need to for the future as I predict demand for seats will exceed supply. The space is not huge, I believe around 40 tables, but feels big with the tall ceilings and the tasteful decor. Many successful restaurants in Harlem and Manhattan are about this size. People will wait and make reservations. A great example is Melba’s. It is always crowded and has stood the test of time.
The music was fantastic. Stevie Wonder played continuously through our dinner. The bar was full and I enjoyed catching up with friends and meeting some great new people. It was a full house by 7PM and lines of people waiting outside.
It was only the first night, but if atmosphere and crowd satisfaction prevails, Cedric will be a success. Congratulations and bon appetit Harlem.
Cedric French Bistro and Bar
185 St. Nicholas Ave
30 thoughts on “Grand Opening of CEDRIC French Bistro – Bar in Harlem”
This remains one of my favorite restaurants of all the new places that have opened recently in Harlem. The food is consistently good and Cedric is wonderful. Quite a few celebrities have been there actually as it’s a little bit off the beat and path for those who want privacy. Next door Billie’s Black is a gem too for great soul food!
It is all about the food, folks. So sad that instead of focusing on what makes the place special, we don’t even get to the sixth review of the place before the focus is suddenly on the race of the server instead of the food. And from a commenter who I see is listed under “progressive black thinkers?” Who cares? Cedric can hire whoever he thinks does the best job. You can’t have it both ways–great restaurant/food/service/atmosphere, but you get to dictate the terms?? I don’t think so. Why don’t you just rejoice that someone decided to upgrade the neighborhood?
Better that you go order a nice glass of Chablis, enjoy the place, and chill out a bit on the non-essentials. Even if he hired all blacks, do you think that fixes the neighborhood employment situation? Isn’t it better that he do it his way and help grow the neighborhood ambiance? Maybe some other enterprising risk takers will follow suit and, wow, we might actually get some neighborhood vibe going. What a thought! You think you have a better idea–you go start a restaurant!
We have nothing but love for Cedrics. Always have, always will. That little stretch of street has 2 great places with Cedrics on the corner and Billie’s Black next door just off St. Nicholas Ave.
As a person of color who lives in Harlem I find this story disconcerting. I hope and suspect that somewhere in between the two stories lies the truth. Regardless, I think the open dialogue is important. My hope is that everyone involved along with the community can keep it civil, honest and focused on making the village of Harlem a model for the country if not the world to follow.
I haven’t seen any signs of disrespect towards African Americans at Cedrics. However I have heard from friends who had problems at Chez lucienne. But never Cedric’s and Dard the manager there is real cool and also African American. I’m sorry you had a bad experience but maybe you should go in and talk with the management and owner? They are not vicious people. I’m against anyone who is prejudice. I don’t get a racist vibe from this place and I’ve been there several times. Red Rooster and Cedrics are two of my favorite weekend spots.
Is the problem just with Cedric’s or are there other restaurants that demonstrate lack of interest in African American customers? For example, how many African Americans do they hire as waiters?
It certainly does matter that African Americans are hired. I havent lived in Harlem for eight years. I have lived here all of my life and newcomers dont have a clue about how Harlem used to be or how many black people sustained this community before they got here. They’ve been displaced. I dont know what fantasy this person is living in but the stores and restaurants being opened in what is and has been known as the black community are not hiring African Americans and this is contributing to the high unemployment rate in these communities. I have seen more and more stores opened by latinos and others who only have their own people working there. Now imagine a black person going into an Italian neighborhood and not hiring anyone from the neighborhood. In fact imagine a black person opening a business or several in their neighborhoods at all. Black people are blatantly being discriminated against and it has nothing to do with doing a good job which is a racist assumption in itself. Good to see Cedric knows.
That’s well & good, however a diverse top shelf work force is what many of us who have lived in Harlem for many years (particularly those of us who are people of color!) are watching. As a black man I, too, disdain bad or lackluster service anywhere regardless of ethnicity, but a business–particularly in Harlem–should ensure that strong wait staff includes qualified African Americans.
I sure wish they’d open more restaurants in Hamilton Heights… seems like there are plenty of dining options around Frederick Douglas and the 110’s-120’s.
Thanks to everyone for reading HarlemCondoLife and for all of your comments and helping us to be the #1 google search for Cedric French Bistro! Lets not forget it’s all about the food ya’ll. As well as supporting local residents opening local businesses. Go in for yourself and have “your own experience” and form “your own opinion” after tasting Cedric’s food and hopefully great hospitality. There may be some flaws as with any restaurant just opening that they will need to work out. like the baby chairs (@ Hiam Abbas) which they should provide and I’m sure they will now that you have mentioned it to them. For now I’m happy that another new restaurant is in our community serving and helping everyone to continue to make Harlem the great place that it is.
People, regardless of race, should be hired based on MERIT, skill and most importantly WORK ETHIC!! If you can not provide good service, do not work in the service industry i.e. as a waiter at a restaurant. So many of the restaurants especially in Harlem, lack the proper service to match the food being served or the prices. This is why, even though I would like to help businesses in my own neighborhood, I just cannot dine in places that lack the proper service. Businesses should hire those that are best qualified for the job, regardless of race. Stop playing the race card and do your job well and everyone would hire you!
I’m not “African AMERICAN” but I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 8 years. I’m confused by the comment that “So many are moving into the black community and only hiring their own.” I’m assuming you mean white people? I’ve not been to a restaurant in the neighborhood in 8 years that didn’t have “African AMERICAN” employees. There have been some places that have come and gone that maybe I’m not remembering – but certainly now – there isn’t a place open that doesn’t have a diverse work force. I tried to find your facebook page to educate myself, but there isn’t a page with that title according to the facebook search engine.
I just stopped by and asked if they had baby chairs and they said not yet but hopefully sometime in the near future. I hope they plan too as my husband, 1 year old and I go out frequently to eat at the various harlem joints, most of them very kid friendly.
Thank you for your comment Reena. Kudos to Cedric! Not only that but our waitress spoke french as well. A double plus.
I understand they are hiring young African AMERICAN people and that is a good thing. So many are moving into the black community and only hiring their own. Much appreciation to Cedric for not doing the same. The boycott of businesses against this practice is growing in Harlem. We have a campaign called “Don’t Shop Where You Can’t Work” on Facebook and people are spreading the word. Glad to know we can dine at Cedric and not be concerned about racial discrimination in hiring practices. Kudos!
I’m going there tonight can’t wait.
What a rave review! Makes me want to get there and try out that salmon! Your review really gives a good sense of the kind of positive vibe at Cedric French Bristow there in Harlem. Thanks for letting the community know what’s going on there. I hope Cedric thrives.
Fantastic review! Your comprehensive descriptions of the dishes are so enticing! I can’t wait to eat at Cedric’s!
the joint was was hoppin! i couldn’t get a table.
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