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Is Amy Ruth's the ONE?

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After combing through the posts for one (just one!) soul food meal in NYC, I've narrowed it down to Amy Ruth's. Is there any better place that should replace Amy Ruth's as the ONE place to go for soul food?

Thank you so much for your help!

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  1. Not sure, as I haven't tried anywhere else, but I and my family enjoyed it a few months ago. Be prepared to wait a bit on line, outside the restaurant. FYI, it was just announced that they are opening another one on Fulton Street, in Brooklyn.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shayna Madel

      They are under construction in the old Gage and Tollner location (they were there from 1892) I hope Amy Ruth's has a long and successful run as well!

    2. I may be being "touristy", but I loved Sylvia's

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tay

        Yes, you are "being touristy". Amy Ruth's and Londels are much better. The food at Margie's Red Rose and Charles Southern Kitchen is better but the atmosphere is not as nice.

      2. Amen to Margie's Red Rose Diner. But it really depends what exactly you're looking for. Are you craving a particular dish?

        1 Reply
        1. re: rootheee

          Who has the best chicken and waffles and macaroni and cheese? Desserts?

        2. I am a Charles fan but I think Amy Ruth's is almost as good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tpigeon

            Where is Charles? I have a vague memory of reading about it in one of the local papers (don't ask me which) and it sounded great.

            1. re: Shayna Madel

              2837 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, NY 10039
              at 151st St.

          2. Amy Ruth's is in the top spot....for now...Another good place (Not Better, Not Worst) is .....The Pink Tea Cup ......on Grove Street (around Christopher and Bleecker) in the Village. Small but Excellent....gets crowded but always worth the wait.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brooklyngyrrl

              A vote for Charles here. The best fried chicken, although don't expect much atmosphere. Last time I went, the mac and cheese wasn't as good as usual but likely just the timing of my visit.

            2. Amy Ruth's definitely has the best honey-dipped chicken -- high quality fried chicken plopped in honey post frying. Yes, it might seem like it would be too sweet to eat, but not if it is properly balanced with hot sauce, which creates a perfect blend of sugar, heat and tang (think of the dipping sauces that come with fried fish at good Thai restaurants). It has has been a favorite of mine since I started going there. Sides like greens and macaroni are also properly prepared. As an alternative to chicken and waffles, I believe Ruth's does a good fried catfish and waffles, if you'd like.

              1. Amy Ruth's has the absolute BEST Red Velvet Cake in NYC. I once tried to buy an entire cake but they wouldn't sell it...

                1. Amy Ruth's should not be at the top of anyone's list and the Pink Teacup should be banned from calling themselves a soul food restaurant. And if you mention Sylvia's...you should ban yourself from the cuisine at all. Salty, overrated, overcooked, poor service. Absolutely not. I'm a true southerner with a family that COOKS and operates a couple of family owned restaurants/catering companies. So my expectations are high.

                  Here's why and my recommendation:

                  AR is total touristy and they are operating on name alone. The food is completely average with the fried chicken being blah. The line is usually outside so you expect that it would be worth the wait - NO. I was not impressed and I'm a soul food foodie. Take this off your list.

                  I won't even start on the Pink Teacup. Took a friend there from out of town, another southerner and we actually laughed at their versions of sweet tea, collard greens and fried chicken. My nephew cooks better than these people. The staff is very friendly, so friendly that the service become lackluster. I wrote them a horrible review on a number of sites and they actually do this subset of food a disservice.

                  NOW....the best soul food in NYC, bar none, is Miss Maude's Spoonbread in Harlem. I have taken everyone there and they always rave/rave. They have the best fried chicken, desserts, mac and cheese and collards. People come from all over for dine in and take out. The place is nothing to look at, think old school charm, sitting in your grandmother's kitchen with the doolies and corny fixtures. You're not paying for ambiance here but it's clean and basic with wooden tables. You know you're close b/c even when you get a block away, you can smell the food. Service is quick but Sunday is a madhouse b/c of the after church crowd. This is a sure fire giveaway for a good soul food spot - is the church crowd there? LOVE, LOVE this place and the food is always seasoned and cooked to perfection. You will not be disappointed. Cross those tourist traps and wannabees off your list immediately.

                  Other places you might like: Maroon's in Chelsea (long wait, packed 24/7, cramped, make reservations if possible, food is good, not great, service questionable). Sugercane's in Brooklyn (BOMB food, Caribbean & Soul food fusion, expensive, cramped, expect a wait, cool decor, people line up before they even open, food served quickly, tad loud, good for dates, not ideal for party of more than 3 folks, diverse/neo soulish crowd). Mobay's in Brooklyn (FOOD is excellent, very small so seating is creative, decor is very basic, service is indifferent, food is quick, skip the location in Harlem - it's a madhouse and my food was gross there but hubby liked his).

                  1. i just ate from the buffet at manna's and have to say, it was really killer - blew away my expectations. I had a sampling of jerk chicken, buffalo wings, honey bbq wings, mac and cheese and sweet potatoes. all the meats were excellent and better than i thought i would get from a buffet. the mac and cheese and sweet potatoes were tasty too. i love that you can take as much as you want of whatever you want for 5.49 a pound. i got takeout, though they have a seating area upstairs (this was the one at 125th and 8th).

                    so, manna is a less orthodox soul food joint in that its not a sit-down restaurant, so i agree with the others who said amy ruths is a great choice for one meal (the honey dipped chicken blew my mind when i first had it - i seriously couldn't believe how good it was). but, for those wanting to branch out, definitely give manna's a try.