Pull Up To The Corner – Corner Social In Harlem

Guess who pulled up to the corner for a Plate Files session. The Corner Social, that is. This is a hip, somewhat trendy bar/restaurant in Harlem. The restaurant itself is situated on, you guessed it, a corner intersection in Harlem, New York — 126th and Malcolm X Boulevard to be exact. The hip eat spot joins a growing list of restaurants and eateries in the Uptown Manhattan area that are migrating towards the trendy side of interior design and theme, with the price list to match. While the price list doesn’t seem to be considerate of the traditionally lower-income demographic that inhabits Harlem’s east side, it compensates by attracting a crowd that is of the higher income brackets, and which is also a demographic that is contributing to the gentrification of the once-well established African-American demographic that has held down the area for decades.

The Corner Social features a bar area/pub that has an upscale vibe, and does bring to mind the Harlem Renaissance, but with a more millennial vibe…with a Black Hipster twist. The waiting staff is quite pleasant and friendly, as well as knowledgeable. They’re very professional and of the upper echelon of a restaurant server-staff. Not ass-kissing friendly, but respectful and affable.

A quick look on their menu informs you of the featured chef that they have in the kitchen, which is likely a contributor to their higher prices for entrees and appetizers. On This visit, the chef was Elpidio Escamilla. The Corner Social is certainly one of the more upscale eateries in Harlem, or Manhattan in general. Our Plate Files host Jay White popped in to see “what it’s hittin’ foe”, as he puts it. With the trusty iPhone in hand, his selection was the Wild Mushroom Grilled Cheese double-decker on sourdough bread.

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“It’s definitely one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches that can be put together. What you get for nearly $20, which is a bit shocking for a price of a sandwich, I have to say.”

customer and waitress talking in a friendly manner

Then again, this is New York, or “The City”, as New Yorkers refer to Manhattan as, and not The Bronx where he makes his home.

“It’s actually two sandwiches put together as one, so that helps”, he says with a bit of a matter-of-fact chuckle.

Putting on his restaurant critiquing voice, in which he enunciates words in a refined, educated, and elegant inflection for fun, he continues:

“You’ll be brought an entree that’s constructed with melted Brie and cheddar, joined with baby Arugula, roasted garlic and Aioli. With the side options of salad or fries, it was most definitely an A1 lunch decision.”

The Corner Social is one of those place where you go to in the weekday afternoon hours if you want a chilled out dining experience. On The weekends, there’s a live DJ and it definitely can get lit — turning on a nightclub vibe with fun-loving, professional, let-loose-on-the-weekend type of people. Coming in for the upscale and near-designer type lunches with indgredients and names that make the average diner need to resort to Google to look up a thing or two, one should be prepared to spend around $20 per person, minimum. Despite being more on the pricey side, it’s an experience and pull up that won’t leave you diappointed at all.