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Harlem's Mountain Bird Restaurant Officially Migrates to El Barrio

By Gustavo Solis | August 18, 2015 5:32pm
 The popular Harlem restaurant has permanently relocated to East Harlem.
Mountain Bird
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EAST HARLEM — The Mountain Bird has finally found a place to nest.

The popular poultry-centric eatery has not had a permanent home since moving out of their small space at 145th Street after their lease expired earlier this year.

In April Kenichi and Keiko Tajima, the husband and wife team behind the restaurant, set up a temporary pop-up restaurant on the ground floor of a catering company in East Harlem on 110th street. Now, they plan to make the arrangement more permanent, said Keiko.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from the neighbors and they asked for us to stay,” she said.

The space, which lets them fit 12 more customers than their previous location, is currently closed while they fine-tune the menu but they expect to reopen Sept. 1, she added.

The space will officially be called, "Tastings Social Presents Mountain Bird."

When they first moved to the catering company Tastings NYC, at 251 E. 110th St., a loyal flock of their Central Harlem customers followed them east.

“They still come back, even though it’s kind of inconvenient to get here,” Tajima said. “Especially in the beginning, most of our customers were from the old location. We are so lucky to have wonderful customers.”

Dishes like their Foie Gras Dumplings, Duck Duo of confit duck leg and pan-roasted duck breasts, and their chicken Schnitzel has won many East Harlem customers over since their spring move.

“Mountain Bird has brought downtown uptown in terms of decor and established food, drinks they offer the community,” said resident James Garcia, who said he goes there a couple of times a week. “It’s not something that you would normally see in an uptown neighborhood.”

Their drinks, including a Lavender Cosmo — made from lavender infused vodka, lemon juice, mint, and cranberry — and a Power of Green Champaign — apple puree and cucumbers — are also out of this world, Garcia said.

During their pop-up run, Mountain Bird experimented with more seafood and vegetable plates. When they reopen in September, they plan to go back to their roots, Tajima said.

One of the dishes she is most proud of is the Head to Toe, a dish that is made from different parts of animals including the hearts and gizzards.

“The idea is like a Japanese dish and not wasting an animals’ life,” she said. “We just want to introduce to American people that, if it’s cooked the right way, it can be really yummy.”

Another addition will be a brunch menu starting Sept. 13.