Upper Manhattan sets celebration of Bastille Day with tour of historic Morris-Jumel Mansion

Commemorates anniversary of uprising against crown that became signature moment of French Revolution Don’t put away the enthusiasm for everything red, white, and blue just yet.

Historian Eric Washington will lead a special tour of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house, with an emphasis on Madame Eliza Jumel. The Napoleon sympathizer tried to create a “Little France” movement in Harlem in the 1800s.

Historian Eric Washington will lead a special tour of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house, with an emphasis on Madame Eliza Jumel. The Napoleon sympathizer tried to create a “Little France” movement in Harlem in the 1800s.

This weekend is Bastille Day, and uptown will be full of joie de vivre and francophones celebrating the birth of modern France on its national holiday. Author and historian Eric Washington will lead a special tour of the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house, as well as the Trinity Church Cemetery, with an emphasis on Madame Eliza Jumel. The Napoleon sympathizer tried to create a “Little France” movement in Harlem in the 1800s. Two of Harlem’s French-inspired eateries will also throw a little soiree to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising against the constitutional monarchy during the French Revolution.

Fireworks light up the sky at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Friday, July 14, 2000, as part of the Bastille Day celebrations. France's national celebration commemorates the storming of the bastille, the uprising against the constitutional monarchy that became a signature moment of the French Revolution.

Fireworks light up the sky at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Friday, July 14, 2000, as part of the Bastille Day celebrations. France’s national celebration commemorates the storming of the bastille, the uprising against the constitutional monarchy that became a signature moment of the French Revolution.

Cedric French Bistro and Bar will celebrate with a Brunch Party starting at 11 a.m., and the bubbly will continue until 5 p.m. Maison Harlem will serve up crepes, live music, swing dancing and a $17.95 dinner and wine special, choice of fish or hanger steak. Other French dining options uptown include ever-popular Chez Lucienne (308 Lenox Ave.), Yatenga Bistro and Bar (2269 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.) with its beloved Mussels Provençal, and Les Ambassades (342 Lenox Ave.), which serves up tastes of Senegalese-influenced Parisian cuisine.

Bon appétit! Call Me Madame: Eliza Jumel’s Bastille Day Tour, Start at the Morris-Jumel Mansion 65 Jumel Terrace and W. 160th St. in Harlem, (212) 923-8008, July 14, 11 a.m. For info, visit http://www.mas.org Bastille Day with Cedric French Bistro, 185 St. Nicholas Ave. and 119th St. in Harlem, (212) 866-7766, July 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For info, visit http://www.cedricbistro.com Bastille Day Celebration at Maison Harlem, 341 St. Nicholas Ave. and 127th St. in Harlem, (212) 222-9224, July 14 noon-midnight. For info, visit http://www.maisonharlem.com Chez Lucienne, 308 Lenox Ave and W. 125th St. in Harlem, (212) 289-5555, July 14, 11a.m-11 p.m. For info, visit chezlucienne.com Yatenga, 2269 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and W. 134th St, (212) 690-0699, July 14, 10 a.m.-midnight. For info, visit http://www.yatengabistro.com Les Ambassades, 342 Lenox Ave. and 127th St in Harlem, (212) 866-9700, July 14, open until 11 p.m. For info, visit patisseriedesambassades.com.

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French Bistro Cedric is Newest Hot Eatery on Harlem’s Scene

The jerk chicken with potatoes and salad and Cedric French Bistro in Harlem.

HARLEM — Cedric Lecendre was reluctant to lend his name to the small French bistro that he opened on St. Nicholas Avenue with co-owner Fabrizio Khanlari and managing partner Dard Coaxum last month.

“It’s a bit of pressure. It’s my name on the door,” Lecendre said of his first ownership effort. But he comes from the restaurant business — his family owns Le Bilboquet on the Upper East Side.

The three friends decided that having Lecendre’s name adorn the restaurant was necessary to create the type of casual neighborhood eatery that was their ultimate goal.

“I’m a believer in the personal touch. Our guests come in and ask for Cedric,” said Khanlari, who has operated restaurants in London.

“It’s a small bistro, so people come in and expect to see one of us.”

And they usually do. Located in the space formerly occupied by Mojo, Cedric, located on St. Nicholas Avenue and 119th Street, may be the most talked-about new restaurant in Harlem since celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Lenox Avenue.

The three friends collaborated on everything from the layout and decorations to the music playing at just the right level in the background.

“Harlem is a stage. You need your best outfit. You have to perform. Everyone is watching. Everyone talks,” said Coaxum, a model who is known around the neighborhood as “The Prince of Harlem.”

Since opening, the restaurant has seen its share of celebrities, including actors Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Noth and rapper NaS. But in an attempt to keep the neighborhood vibe, reservations are not taken. Prices range from $16 to $25 for an entree and average $10 for an appetizer. Servings are generous.

Although the restaurant is a French Bistro, there are still dishes like fish and chips and jerk chicken on the menu.

“You are not going to see fish and chips in a Paris bistro, but we had to do dishes in Harlem that would satisfy the locals,” said Khanlari.

In a tribute to the diversity of the neighborhood, some of the most popular dishes are the curried mussels and the tuna tartar with avocado. Most nights, there’s a mix of people of different races and ages filling the 45-seat venue.

“My two years of living in Harlem have made me feel more at home than any other place I’ve lived in my 17 years in New York,” said Lecendre. “I wouldn’t have opened a place somewhere I didn’t feel at home.”

Even in light of Harlem’s recent restaurant boom, the three see opportunity.

“The Red Rooster has helped to make Harlem a destination. People are now looking for new restaurants to visit,” said Coaxum.

Harlem is a neighborhood that is “growing toward a better future,” added Lecendre.

He said consistency is a problem at many of the Harlem restaurants he’s visited, while Khanlari said much of the food just hasn’t been very tasty.

With dishes liked grilled salmon with ratatouille, red beet salad with goat cheese and pan seared duck breast with cherry sauce, the goal is to offer consistently good food with a good environment.

“We put a lot of effort into this,” said Khanlari.

Khanlari, Coaxum and Lecendre say they hope to create a restaurant that is good enough to give them enough cache and capital to open another venture in Harlem.

“The way things are turning out, I couldn’t be happier to have my name on the door,” said Lecendre.

October 4, 2011 2:11pm | By Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20111004/harlem/french-bistro-cedric-is-newest-hot-eatery-on-harlems-scene#ixzz1ZreotFXg