Chef Russell Jackson’s ‘Reverence’ Opens in the Historic Strivers Row District of Harlem




Chef Russell Jackson. Photo courtesy Reverence

California Chef Russell Jackson has opened a fine dining restaurant, Reverence Harlem, in the historic Strivers Row District, close to where he has been living, on 138th Street ~ and Reservations are now Live!

Reverence ~ Harlem

As a culinary innovator within the category of “Underground Restaurants” and a noted African-American chef in California cuisine, Owner/Chef Russell Jackson (Subculture Dining; Lafitte, SF; Russell’s, LA) is proud to be debuting one of his most personal experiences and first NYC restaurant, Reverence, a fine dining restaurant in HarlemLocated in historic Strivers’ Row, Reverence features a seasonal, modern California-Inspired degustation menu with optional beverage pairings. Jackson’s vision is for a Harlem that represents the culinary diversity of African-American chefs while supporting its local community with high-quality dining.

“Harlem is and has always been one of the most influential artistic, business, and cultural demographics in the world for modern African-American expression. It is currently verging on a cultural renaissance and leadership with a new and inclusive center. We are excited to be part of its potential and help to artistically expand its dining landscape,” explains Jackson.
Close-up of the Logo in the window

Reverence features a 5-course tasting menu ($98/pp.) based on the simple principles of the West Coast and local cuisine, or farm-to-table, including simple, quality-driven and veritable products. Jackson’s curated menu, a homage to his California roots, includes an amuse course, followed by finger foods, a vegetable or grain, seafood, poultry, and dessert. Sample dishes include Empanada of “Feisty Acres” Quail Egg, Japanese Yam, California Seaweed, Fermented Uni-chile; Escargot, Spring Garlic, Wild Fennel Tart; “GreenWalk Hatchery” Trout, California Shell Beans, Cured Citrus; Spring Vegetable Nukazuke, California Short Grain Rice, Fermented Vegetable Broth; and Miso, Almond Honey Cake-Proyecto Diaz Coffee Syrup.  

Jackson sources seasonal products from notable farmers, including The Chef’s Garden in Ohio. Menu supplements are available, plus an optional beverage pairing ($90/pp.) featuring wine, beer, sake and cider, as well as a non-alcoholic beverage pairing ($90/pp.), curated by Beverage Director Ann Marie Del Bellow (Loring Place and ABC Kitchen & Cocina). Operations Master Ashley Harmon (ABC Kitchen & Cocina) leads as the guest liaison.

From L-R, 139th Street, Faction Art Projects (R) Reverence Harlem at 139th Street

Reverence Harlem is located on the same block as the popular art gallery, Faction Art Projects, a collective formed by the team behind the well-known London-based Gallery 8. and on the corner of one of the historic Strivers Row blocks.

The image above is another angle, beginning (Left) at the gallery, Faction Art Projects, moving down Frederick Douglass Boulevard to 138th Street and Reverence Harlem, with a break between buildings where the back-yards of the historic houses on Strivers Row line the alley. Below, a look at Strivers Row on 139th Street.

Jackson chose Reverence’s location in an 150-year old building on Strivers’ Row – the two blocks of West 138th and 139th Streets between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevards – largely due to its classic, revered architecture and uniquely cohesive layout, which is emblematic of Harlem’s rocky path to the 21st century; and its symbol of success. With its prominent corner location with large streetside windows, Reverence (18 counter seats) features a modern, California/Mediterranean feel with light beige and grey tones, beautiful mosaic tiles, fine wood and exposed brick elements. Reverence’s large horse-shoe shaped, John Boos Block custom counter surrounds the open-kitchen allowing guests to interact with Jackson and his kitchen crew. Top of the line equipment, including Tecnoeki Millennial Combi Oven from Italy, which is the first to be used on the east coast.

“In the past 5 years of living in New York and spending most of my time in Harlem, I have come to learn that the Northern Manhattan neighborhood lacks a fine-dining, contemporary restaurant diversity by elevated African-American chefs,” says Jackson. “We are aiming to fill a void of representation in the Harlem community.”

Reverence has a no technology policy, including no photos, in an effort to allow guests to be truly present for the experience. The restaurant is open five nights a week from Tuesday to Saturday.

View of historic Strivers Row between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem

Reverence Harlem is located at 2592 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, corner of 138th Street., and Reservations are now Live!