1 at Cathedral Pkwy./110th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
79th St. to 125th St., Central Park West to Riverside Dr.
This venue is closed.
Charles Gabriel, a Harlem luminary known for the peerless pan-fried chicken and soul-food buffet at his Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen, has infiltrated lower Manhattan (lower for him, that is), entering into a consulting partnership at the new Rack & Soul. The casual upper-Broadway spot, with its Greek-coffee-shop layout and disarmingly friendly service, serves the full gamut of southern-style cuisine, with a pit smoker overseen by co-chef John Wheeler. The chicken, ordered with a fluffy round waffle as one of the two included sides, is crisp, golden-brown crust, moist meat, and a well-seasoned flavor that induces uninhibited bone gnawing and finger licking. Although the space is plain, with red vinyl booths and a designated takeout counter and entrance, Rack & Soul, unlike Charles’s uptown HQ, does offer wine and a couple of unusual beers, like Louisiana’s Abita and Gosser from Austria. There is iced tea and lemonade, of course, and the usual dessert suspects—a supersweet banana pudding and a decent red velvet cake—trucked in from a Harlem bakery.