MINTON’S HARLEM Jazz Supper Club brings New Style and Class to Harlem Dining Scene

Minton’s Harlem is the new hot spot around Harlem Restaurant Row, offering Live jazz music nightly from a house band that features veteran Jazz musicians, some of whom actually played at the original Minton’s Playhouse, and a menu by Executive Chef Alexander Smalls and Chef de Cuisine Banks White. Owner Richard Parsons has realized his vision of bringing an elegant and stylish Jazz supper club to Harlem in this space which is an official historical landmark thanks to musicians like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Christian and Dizzy Gillespie, who stretched their creative wings and developed the Bebop sound at the original Minton’s Playhouse in the 1940s and ’50s.

MINTON'S  Harlem

As I stepped into Minton’s front door, I heard echoes of Jazz giants from the past who once performed here, but the new elegant decor and diverse fashionable crowd (men are required to wear jackets) reminded me that this was indeed a new Minton’s in a Harlem that is currently experiencing a re-birth of sorts thanks to entrepreneurs like Parsons, who also opened The Cecil restaurant just next door to Minton’s last month.  While The Cecil offers an explosion of exotic flavors from its Afro-Asian-American menu by Chef Alexander Smalls and Chef de Cuisine Joseph “JJ” Johnson,  Minton’s Harlem opts for an upscale Nouvelle cuisine where presentation is key, but still inspired by collaborators Chef Smalls and Banks White’s delicious “Southern Revival Cooking with Low Country notes” concept.

Minton’s Harlem Chef de Cuisine Banks White and Executive Chef Alexander Smalls.

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The warm and inviting dining area at Minton’s seats 70 people (reservations required) for a four-course Prix fixe menu priced at $90. There’s also a lively bar area near the entrance surrounded by about a dozen cozy stools. Minton’s Harlem will be a bit cost-prohibitive for some, but it is a great place to enjoy that very special occasion when you’re ready to splurge. This is especially true if you love Jazz music, as you will hear top-notch Jazz musicians performing during your meal and you will be kept company by a series of beautiful photographs of Jazz legends such as Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and others. The atmosphere is perfectly set for an entertaining evening that feels almost timeless.

Minton's Bar Restaurant

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After enjoying a great dinner (tasty shared hors d’oeuvres plate -pictured above, wild baby arugala salad, pan seared venison, banana cream pie) along with fine wine, exceptional service and at least three stellar sets from the band, I kept thinking how great it would be if Minton’s would also start a late-night jam session in a less-formal atmosphere, perhaps once a week, where customers would be able to order drinks and small plates, and young Jazz musicians would be invited to join Minton’s house band to create a mood of exploration and improvisation that might lead to something new and innovative in Jazz. As was the case at the original Minton’s Playhouse back in the day. THAT would be hot!

MINTON’S HARLEM Jazz Supper Club

206 118th Street (St. Nicholas & Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd)
Reservations: 212.243.2222
Monday – Thursday: 5-11PM
Friday – Saturday – 5-Midnight
www.MintonsHarlem.com

Special thanks to Minton’s Harlem / The Cecil Director of Operations: Beatrice Stein