By Lil Nickelson
The Edge Café is a welcome addition to my neighborhood. The Edge is located at 101 Edgecombe Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10030 on the Northwest corner of 139th Street (212 939-9688 www.edgecafeharlem.com).
Its open seven days a week: Monday through Wednesday 9am to 10pm; Thursday and Friday from 9am to 11pm; Saturday 11am to 11pm and Sunday from 11am to 10pm. The Edge is the vision of the two native New Yorkers, Masters’ sisters, Juliet and Justine, and the restaurant celebrated its 1st year anniversary on November 4th, that have been Harlem residents since 2000. They created a place in my neighborhood (where Hamilton Heights and Central Harlem meets) that was much needed; something casual and comfy and I love it.
To encourage eating and conversation the ladies purposefully did not include Wi-Fi after 5 pm or put up any plasma screens. This place is about unwinding, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company and the meals. They call their menu “casual cuisine,” flavors of Jamaica (their dad’s home country) and England (their mom’s home country) with a little New York attitude (them). Everyday brunch is from 10am to 4:30pm, dinner is from 5pm to 10 or 11pm (depending on the night) and weekend brunch is from 11am to 4pm.
You step down the few steps in the entrance to an L shaped bar that comfortably seats 5 to eat with a window counter to the right that seats 3. My tasting team member was having challenges finding parking so I got a good chance to soak up the atmosphere of the restaurant. The café table can seat two or four people up to 36- 40 people comfortably. It has exposed brick walls along the exterior with tiny vases with real flowers on the tables and a regular size vase with flowers on the bar. There are vases in the windows along 139th Street with cut green leaves in them as well. The crowd was mixed in age and race. It’s a nice neighborhood place that you can meet up with friends at after you’ve had a chance to get home and change into some more comfortable clothes. The Edge Café has live music on Wednesdays.
My waiter, Alexis patiently waited until my tasting team member, Carolyn Jackson arrived once she had found parking. It was a rainy night and I was sipping on some hot tea while I waited for her to arrive. Juliet and her chef decided what dinner menu items we would partake in that evening and we were very happy and filled by the time we ventured back out into the rain.
Everything came out piping hot, visually appealing and hmm hmm good. The Spicy Shrimp with Mango Salsa had just enough heat that blended down enough when combined with the mango salsa in your mouth. The Mini Crabcakes with Mixed Greens with tartar sauce were excellent because the crab meat wasn’t overpowered with a whole lot of other ingredients so that the crabmeat was the featured ingredient. The Codfish Fritters with Jerky Lime Dip were delicious too and the dipping sauce bounced over several taste buds with the sour hot combination on fried codfish fritters; what a nice blend. The NY Beef Sliders with Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato were juicy and moist and the cheddar cheese had even twang to it that it was a welcome change from the normal processed American cheese on burgers.
The jerk in the Jerk Chicken Caesar Salad added a new twist to the old favorite of a Caesar salad with chicken. The Fish & Chips were superb and reminded of English style fish and chips. In Harlem, the land of whiting, what a refreshing change to have codfish fried in a beer batter. The Roasted Cauliflower side was delicious too; it’s my favorite way to prepare cauliflower. For adult beverages we had the House Rum Punch which had a nice little kick to it. For the final course of dessert we had the Bread Pudding with Crème Anglaise. It rounded off a wonderful dining experience between two old college friends as we caught up with each other’s hectic schedules.
During my discussion with Juliet before I ate she stated how the first year in the café has been the hardest she has worked in her life. How they started out the first three months with a breakfast menu only while she decided on their menu items and then gradually rolled in brunch and dinner as they trained their staff on how they wanted their customers to be treated. How she and her sister divide their tasks up based on each sister’s strengths and how owning the café has stretched each of them and they have grown from the experience. Now they’re looking to find a good balance between being entrepreneurs, giving their staff some autonomy and having their own personal lives as well.
This wasn’t my first time dining at The Edge Café, although I know have a greater fondness for the depth of their dinner menu having sampled as any small plate menu items as I did that evening. I only live 3 blocks away so I went back the following week with some prospective clients who also enjoyed the meal. If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop and dine there, may I recommend you put The Edge Café on you short list of places eat. Juliet and Justine have brought a wonderful place to our neighborhood; bravo ladies!!
Photo credit: The interior pictures were taken from the cafe’s web site galley and were taken by . The food pictures were taken by my tasting team member Carolyn Jackson.