Pasty White Jews in Harlem: Dinner at the M&G Diner

November 5, 2004 | By | COMMENTS

Tonight—more theater, more eating.

Lauren’s here to do some election grieving. I invited her along to our second-night of theater going: “The Gospel at Colonus” at The Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Classmate Molly got the tickets and classmate James said, “Let’s all eat at the M&G Diner before the show.”

Lauren came in from Penn Station late so we came late to dinner. We took the C train up to Harlem–my first time. I expected dingy streets and slums and dangerous types walking around snapping their fingers like in “West Side Story.” Instead, I got Old Navy. Lauren had mentioned that Harlem was gentrified, but I had no idea. It was actually quite charming, in a gentrified Harlem sort of way.

We made it into M&G and my classmates were already eating. We found a table and promptly ordered. A jukebox played Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” I began to groove to the rhythm. Lauren said, “Stop.”

Soon, our food arrived. I ordered the fried chicken breast with candied yams and macaroni and cheese and corn bread:

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The fried chicken was fine–I’ve had better in Atlanta. The candied yams were delicious. The mac and cheese was ok; I’d forgotten that I hate cheese. But the greatest was the corn bread. It was soul-shatteringly good. They basically made little corn muffin things, sliced them in half and FRIED THEM IN BUTTER. And it just tasted wonderful. Goes into the pantheon of Corn Bread Adam Has Ingested.

Lauren had smothered chicken:

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Don’t you love her sweater/shirt combo? I complimented her several times.

After dinner, we made it over to the Apollo theater. It was amazing. It was so great to be in there. So much history and such a great vibe to it. It still feels vital.

The show was a gospel version of “Oedipus at Colonus.” Charles S. Dutton played The Messenger and The Blind Boys of Alabama played “Oedipus.” I thought the book was pretty slow (meaning the speaking non-singing parts) but, really, how can you fault the writer when he’s SOPHOCLES? As for the music, it was rousing and wonderful. There’s a number in there that opens the movie “Camp” (a pretty bad movie) called “How Shall I See You Through My Tears?” It’s beautiful. I actually prefer the version on the “Camp” soundtrack so check that out. And here’s a pic from the show that I took illegally:

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If any of my readers have thought Harlem too dangerous to venture out to, you’re really missing out. It’s one of New York’s great cultural havens. If you don’t go, you’re RACIST. Seriously. Can I get a hallelujah?

Categories: Harlem, Manhattan, New York, Restaurant Reviews

  • Tim

    Are you saying if we don’t go to Harlem, the terrorists win?

    Visit the Apollo, now more than ever!

    Tim

  • Emily!

    Hallelujah! Thank you for spreading the gospel of Harlem. I live on 145th street and I feel like I spend all my days in an uphill battle trying to get friends to come visit me up here. It’s beautiful and vibrant and safe, and it’s got some tasty cornbread!

  • Kendall Meeks

    Harlem … Gentrified? Say it ain’t so …

    Tell me it isn’t as bad as Atlanta? Can the folks that grew up in Harlem still afford to live in Harlem?

    Or have the property values/taxes skyrocketed – forcing them from their domiciles?

  • Katharine

    Camp really was a terrible movie! What a shame, too, because there were some really clever things about it. Also, I attended the camp it was filmed at and based on. Everyone made fun of me because I was practically the only person there from the South. It was there that I discovered what a blintz was. Also, that in other parts of the country there were Jewish people.

    I had wondered what the opening song was from – it was one of the only ones I didn’t recognize. My favorite part was definitely at the end when the “All About Eve” stalker chick was playing Martha in Who’s Afraid of VA Woolf. Hilarious!

    Mmm…soul food.

  • Julie

    The M&G is one of our standard stops for cheap comfort food — being East Harlemites, it’s only a short bus ride away. I hear the word on fried chicken, however, is Charles’ Southern Kitchen, which is on Frederick Douglass Blvd (aka 8th Avenue) and 152nd St. I haven’t made the trek up there yet, but I understand that he fries his chicken in a big old frying pan, just the way his mother used to. And apparently the chicken is part of a $10 all-you-can-eat buffet that includes all the standard sides plus ribs and other goodies…

  • CateMI

    One of my good friends just moved to Harlem. She pays over a grand a month for a one bedroom. I’d say that’s gentrified.

  • REAL TALK

    sounds like you are the RACIST. I bet you cross the street when you see Black men in Atlanta too…