I’ve been in Harlem in the same apartment for 4.5 years now… right in the center of all the exciting new places that have recently opened (Bad Horse Pizza, Chocolat, Biergarten, 5 and Diamond), and close as well to the tried and true – and mostly delicious – places that have been here as long as I have or longer (Nectar Winebar, Billie’s Black, Melba’s, 67 Orange, etc.)
But my favorite place to eat in my neighborhood, day or night (because they stay open til 4am – yes, 4am – most nights), is Patisserie des Ambassades. It’s a French-Senegalese bakery and grill, open 7am to 4am, an experience (like many things in Harlem) and one you can neither rush nor partake in if you’re in any particular hurry. But everything, and I do mean everything because I’ve had just about everything except certain off the menu traditional dishes that I’ve been lax in ordering, is DELICIOUS. Mouthwatering, omg-what-spice-is-that, make you wanna slap your mama delicious. The omelets are divine (cremeuse my favorite) and only served on weekend brunch. The lamb chops and lamb shank are particularly outstanding if they get good cuts in, and even if not they’re pretty good, and for about $14 you get enough to feed you for at least a meal plus decent leftovers. The whole grilled tilapia has a tomato-onion relish on it that have tried and failed so many times to recreate.
They also have the best bread in Harlem, $2 for a long french loaf. It usually sells out by dinner time every day. The vast selection of well-appointed pastries, cheesecakes, tartes, cupcakes, tiramisus, and cake-lets will make you drool. I’m also discovering a “VIP” prix fixe menu from their website that I’m pretty upset I never knew existed (it’s not handed out in the restaurant).
But most nights when I’m stumbling home from a night of carousing, I get a burger. I know, tres Americain but it’s just so damn good. It’s a hearty thick patty sliced in half with a fried egg put between the two slices of meat, dressed with ketchup and their homemade spicy mayo, all on a perfect brioche bun. Lettuce, tomato, and their sinus-searing homemade hot sauce optional. I usually opt for all three.
Let it be said that I have only finished this entire burger once. And that was after skipping a meal at some point in the 24 hours prior, possibly due to illness.
I will be revisiting the VIP menu here now that it’s outdoor-seating weather. Stay tuned!