Creole conjures up images of shrimp remoulade, gumbo and catfish, which is exactly what you will find at this Harlem outpost of food and jazz. Sitting on the corner of Third Avenue and 116th Street, Creole Jazz & Supper Club brings a more upscale mood and swinging rhythm to this part of the neighborhood.
At first sight, Creole seems like just another brightly lit storefront, its awning decorated with the restaurant’s motif. But a peek through the window allows passersby to see the band playing just inside. Enter through a velvet draped portal and meet friendly staff who invite guests to sit down for dinner, drinks and live music. The raw brick and the red tones give this dining room and its generous bar do update the space.
The menu is simple and features a variety of creole, soul and southern choices. The appetizers range from salads to catfish strips to crab cakes. As seems to be the trend these days, the appetizers are the most interesting choices. Main courses are uneven. Like much of the traditional food in the south, many items are fried, so keep that in mind when ordering. The vegetarian offerings include a successful gumbo, which is served over rice. Less successful are the pasta dishes, which are all penne-based.
Wine offerings are very run of the mill, and the beer selections limited, but cocktails are much more interesting, as are the lovely bartenders who serve them (and sometimes sing along with the other musicians).
The best things on offer are the truly southern choices (southern fried chicken, collard greens, catfish strips), and the jazz and roots music playing in the front of the room.
Guests can enjoy ensembles that feature some of the city’s most seasoned jazz, funk, roots and world beat artists, as well as some of the younger generation of talented musicians. Great place to meet friends for the evening, or to bring out of town guests.
Creole is a daring enterprise, and the menu may be too over-priced for the neighborhood, at least for now. Big changes are in store for this section of the east side. For the moment, it is worth making the trip uptown on the 6 train to grab a bite and to hear some great live music.
Tip: Call ahead to see who is playing, or visit the website
. Sets start at 8PM.