The development of Harlem is old news, but there are still days when it catches you by surprise. The last time we were up on 133rd Street, we were walking off ribs from Dinosaur, and the only thing there was an iffy-looking garage. Now? The 6000-square-feet Hudson River Cafe, a massive outdoor eatery where neighborhood grandees can repose in the sun and eat yellowtail sashimi, caviar, smoked fish mousse, and other upscale treats. The restaurant also offers original cocktails named for local sites (a Grant’s Tomb, anybody?) and a grab bag of local Hudson Valley products. It would be easy to make sport of Hudson River Cafe and say, “There goes the neighborhood.” More likely, it’s where the neighborhood will go to brunch.
Hudson River Cafe, 697 W. 133rd St., nr. Twelfth Ave.; 212-491-9111