If you’ve been in New York City for a while (like me), then I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pink Tea Cup, the well-known soul food restaurant that was established in 1954. After a few hiccups with its original location in the West Village, the current owner, and head chef, Lawrence Page (“Chef LP”), revived the brand and relocated the restaurant to Fort Greene in Brooklyn, which turned out to be an excellent/profitable decision.
Last weekend, I was invited to sit down (and eat) with Chef LP, who is the star of WEtv’s new culinary show “Hustle & Soul,” which premieres tomorrow, March 16, 2017, at 10 p.m. The six episodes, one-hour series, follows Chef LP on his journey to bring classic soul food recipes to “the next level” as well as follows his ambitious quest to make the Pink Tea Cup the first soul food restaurant to garner the coveted Michelin Star.
While chatting with Chef LP, he expressed how “excited” and “humbled” he was about the next chapter of his culinary journey. In fact, he doesn’t even mind opening up about his life and business on the show, if it means that he will be able to garner some much-needed respect for soul food, which we both agree is lacking. Chef LP also expressed that owning a soul food restaurant and developing tasty & classic soul food recipes can be tricky, especially for an inexperienced chef. Given the convoluted history of African-American cuisine coupled with the fact that very few soul food restaurants have managed to elevate soul food to “fine dining” quality, Chef LP is eager to develop that blueprint.
While Chef LP was running around the restaurant, ensuring that everything was in order, I was swaying to the music playing throughout the restaurant and happily stuffing my face with all the delicious food.
Everything I tried was simply delicious. I especially enjoyed the sweet potato waffle, which accompanied my fried catfish fillet. The sweet and savory combination was perfect. While the waffle was not overly sweet, it was sweet enough that I didn’t need to dip the waffle in any syrup.
I also ordered a few side dishes; Collard Greens (made with smoked turkey), Mac & Cheese, and Potato Salad. While all the side dishes were delicious and bursting with southern flavors, the Potato Salad was a standout to me because it’s one of those southern dishes that most restaurants get completely wrong! However, the Potato Salad at the Pink Tea Cup was perfect and reminded me of the Potato Salad that my southern grandmother used to make for me when I was growing up. For dessert, I ordered the Pecan Cheesecake, which was delectable and was the perfect ending to my southern meal.
Based on my experience, Chef LP has developed a winning formula and might be the first soul food restaurant to earn the Michelin Star after all.
Follow Chef LP’s journey on Hustle & Soul starting tomorrow on WEtv at 10:00 p.m.
*Disclaimer: While my meal was complimentary, the opinions expressed herein are my own.