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“Unique menu made a memorable dining experience”

The Cecil Restaurant
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Ranked #2,014 of 14,216 Restaurants in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: American, African, Asian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Neighborhood: Harlem
Description: Inspired by the travels, exploration and study of the African Diaspora of Chef Alexander Smalls, The Cecil offers a global adventure in tastes and flavors as diverse and dynamic as the community in which the restaurant resides. Its goal is to connect communities through food, comfort and hospitality.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

Nice ambiance and a gorgeous and helpful staff. The chef is amazing; one of those culinary genius types who create new combinations with fresh and beautiful food. The whole concept of African asian fusion is unique in itself, and may sound strange, but trust me, it works! My sis and I shared an heirloom beet appetizer with small roasted beets that were orange and gold, on rocket lettuce with a spiced tofu dressing, and oxtail dumplings, which were in a delicate saffron curry broth. Delicious! My entree was a pan seared "jerk" sea bass on a pile of grain, an African quinoa with pieces of okra and tomatoes. I like spicy, and they brought a compote of extra jerk sauce. Very yummy. My sis had a duck confit in a pile of rice fettuccine-shape noodles with a lovely coconut curry sauce. For dessert excellent coffee with a very interesting version of pumpkin pie; I took a photo of it...it was rather like a rich pumpkin gelatin, with toasted marshmallow on top, and toasted marshmallow ice cream, too. Also fresh cranberries on the side. I really like the chef. We had a hell ova time catching a cab after dinner, though. The hostess was not very helpful in that department, even though it was fairly early in the evening and quiet in the restaurant. if you are a foodie, I highly recommend this place. We had a concert at St John's afterwards, which is pretty close.

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Thank heidil722
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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156 - 160 of 180 reviews

Reviewed December 13, 2013

Cecil's has only been open for a few months and you can tell that they have a following already. This is one of those restaurants where you get really excited looking through the menu. It's short and sweet which I appreciate because the kitchen can focus on a few things and do them really well. The food is absolutely amazing. We started off with oxtail dumplings which were really meaty and in a delicate, creamy sauce. My daughter had the tenderloin and those okra were so delicious. I had the gumbo which was filled with shrimp, chicken, sausage, and crab. My husband is from New Orleans and we know gumbo...the one from Cecil's was just so delicious. We ended the meal with coffee and hot chocolate, wish we had room for a nice slice of pumpkin pie. The restaurant's theme is African diaspora which is perfect since they are situated in Harlem. You get a little African, a little Caribbean, a little New Orleans, even a little Asian. We are looking forward to a return trip, although I'm afraid that it will be very difficult to get a table by that point. Go and enjoy!!!

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Thank SingletonFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

The food at Cecil (pronounced See-Sill) is gourmet reflections on Southern cuisine. Instead of fried chicken, it is fried guinea hen. The collard greens are in crispy salad form rather than soggy vegetables. The gumbo is a sort of thick seafood casserole. The crab cakes are a fine mixture of crab and shrimp. The service is friendly and efficient. The only negative is noise: every surface is reverberative. Go early unless you equate noise with lively. Full discosure: I am acquainted with the wife of the owner.

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1  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

This restaurant has an original menu, delicious food, refined decor, and an elegant vibe. We went for lunch -- it's a new restaurant, and only recently started offering lunch -- and will certainly go again, both for lunch and dinner.

The wine list is selective but goes far beyond the usual and boring -- a Falangina is offered, for example. There's a focus on foods of the African diaspora, and they are eclectic and tasty. Devilled ducks eggs for example that really taste like eggs; excellent breads; rice/vegetable/meat bowls that are cooked with your own combination of ingredients.

It is welcoming, hospitable, and cozy without being cloying.

And, for those coming from elsewhere, it seems that parking in this neighborhood is not the chore it is just a bit further south and west...free parking, for a great meal. Hard to beat in NYC.

Not cheap however, but worth it.

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Thank workwings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

This place just opened 3 weeks ago, or so, and I have not made it past the bar. I may never make it past the bar, and that is not a bad thing. The cocktails are tasty (Masai!), and the vibe is excellent. The food looks good and one can eat at the bar. I shall return.

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Thank swampert2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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