Rack & Soul and Charles Southern Kitchen
- Jim Leff May 20, 2011 11:22 AM
Has anyone parsed out the hours Charles Gabriel is at Rack&Soul and when he's at Charles Southern Kitchen? I'd eat anything he cooked me, including styrofoam pellets, but both places have disappointed when he's not actually there.
I've also heard reports that his Southern Kitchen is closed. True?
Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken
2837 8th Ave, New York, NY 10039
Rack & Soul
258 West 109th St., New York, NY 10025
I was at Rack and Soul on Saturday May 21st, late afternoon/early evening and it was better than ever! The pork ribs were perfect, the fried chicken amazing, and the sides spectacular! Had okra, collard greens, beans with burnt ends, and a waffle! Even the biscuits at the beginning of the meal were flaky and buttery. I don't know if Charles was there however, the kitchen was cooking on all burners!! Can't wait to go back!!!
Charles once broke down his routine for me (this was a little over a year ago, but seemed to apply the last couple times I've visited). Mon-Thurs he's in the original location for a few hours from opening, runs errands for the rest of the afternoon and returns for dinner. Sometimes he has a catering gig at Columbia or elsewhere, which takes him out of commission for the dinner hour.
Charles usually takes down himself and does prep for the next day late at night (he also gives surplus food to scrappers before closing the doors). On weekends he checks in at Rack and Soul, but I'm not sure if he is actually cooking during that time (he put it to me as quality control and training of the R&S staff). And is he still cooking at Aretsky's Patroon on Friday evenings? If so, he'll be holed up there for the entire day.
I hope that helps a bit. I am relieved to know that Charles is still up and running on Frederick Douglass!
All good to know. I didn't press Charles for so much detail when I spoke with him on a recent Saturday, at Rack and Soul. I'll note, though, that he was wearing chef's whites that had been freshly unwhitened, and that we had to bump knuckles because he was still wearing gloves.
This is interesting to note, as when I went to R & S about a year and half ago on a weekday for lunch the fried chicken was cold and in-edible. I haven't returned since, but this thread is luring me back.
Funny enough, I went to Charles's Southern Kitchen on a weekend last fall and found the chicken to be cold and inedible there also. (Like it had been sitting in the warming oven for a day or so)
Is that the experience here, if you don't go there on the weekend you should expect to be disappointed?