It took Christmas to finally make a trip to Red Rooster, the finally agreed upon choice among my group of three (Chinese or not is always a tough decision), to partake in the advertised buffet. Because holidays=excess.
The spread was by far more Scandinavian than Soul, though, so it didn't exactly count as a typical dining experience at the restaurant. That is not a complaint--the only thing I truly missed was the opportunity to try the yard bird, a.k.a. fried chicken.
Well, there was cornbread in the selection of starches. It was the flaky scone-biscuit rounds with clotted cream that got my attention, though (twice).
The best part were the starters, anchored by a dazzling array of colorful radishes, cauliflower, and carrots. I love rainbow food to the point where I started a Pinterest board, Taste the Rainbow, before learning that was a cliche. I filled up on two trips-worth of gravlax, and herring prepared a million ways (ok, three: pickled, in sour cream, and in a thick green herbal sauce that wasn't pesto).
I didn't even get a chance to try the Swedish pork with lingonberries, though I did my best to get a small scoop of just about everything else: mashed sweet potatoes, collard greens, red cabbage, chile-spiked salmon, a small slice of roast beef, skinny green and white beans, Jansson's Temptation, a potato casserole with some sort of pickled fish, and easily the weirdest thing, a Swedish meatball and cocktail frank bake that would be at home in the Midwest. Note the one meatball and one weiner, front and center, that came as a pair.
Desserts included pumpkin pie, fudge, macaroons (not macarons) and a molasses cookies that probably have a Swedish name that I don't know. I forgot to order Glögg, though I kind of maxed out on mulled wine after more than few cups of Glühwein in Berlin a few weeks ago.
The basement set-up, complete with a live band and a roaming woman crooning, There's a Stranger in My House (at least I think that's what the song was) elicited comparisons to a Catskills resort (not that I would know firsthand--Dirty Dancing is my only frame of reference). And we were this close to going to Kutshers for Christmas.
Red Rooster * 310 Malcom X Blvd., New York, NY