The Cecil
The Cecil

The Cecil

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.thececilharlem.com/
  • Phone: 212-866-1262x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch Saturday & Sunday 11am - 4:30pm

    Dinner Monday - Thursday 5pm - 11pm
    Friday and Saturday 5pm - 12am
    Sunday 5pm -10pm

    The bar is open one hour later each night
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: American, African, Asian
  • Executive Chef: Alexander Smalls
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Personal wines welcome, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: Join us for brunch Saturday and Sunday with unlimited cocktail options.
    Take a short walk and visit our sister restaurant next door, Minton's for live jazz nightly.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Corner of St Nicholas
  • Public Transit: B/C to 116th street or 2/3 to 116th street
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: 118 between St Nicholas and 8th Ave or 122 and St Nicholas
A word from The Cecil
The Cecil, created by New York businessman Richard Parsons and noted restaurateur and chef Alexander Smalls, is New York City’s first Afro-Asian-American brasserie.

Inspired by the travels, exploration and study of the African Diaspora of Chef Smalls, The Cecil will offer a global adventure in tastes and flavors as diverse and dynamic as the community in which the restaurant resides. Its goal is to connect communities through food, comfort and hospitality.
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The Cecil reviews from OpenTable diners
248 reviews since May 18, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.4
    Service4
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelEnergetic
94% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (161)neighborhood gem (161)special occasion (114)hot spot (110)good for groups (106)romantic (86)great for brunch (69)vibrant bar scene (54)late-night find (35)great for lunch (25)notable wine list (18)scenic view (4)kid-friendly (4)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • Very good, just needs fine-tuning
    PGofHSMVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The Cecil is a very good restaurant and has the potential to be great. As soon as you walk in, there's a hospitable-feeling bar and lounge area where you're welcome to wait for the rest of your party to arrive. You can order a drink while you wait, from a cocktail list with a solid range. This is one spot where the restaurant still could up its game a little by striking a better balance on making drinks either overly girly and sweet or Manly and bitter. The service verged on overly attentive in this area, and I wished the hostess had mentioned that happy hour was available, but was highly professional. The main dining area is lovely. My appetizer, a smoked watermelon salad, was fantastic. My mac & cheese entree was too big.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great dinner at the Cecil!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I recently took my wife to the Cecil for her birthday and we loved it! We had the collard green salad and the ginger squid for appetizers. So good it could have been an entree. For our entrees my wife had whole branzino and I had the rice wok entree with pineapple black rice and tofu. Both entrees were amazing! The service was extremely attentive and Paula the manager is soooo friendly. My wife's is ready to go back again for brunch! The Cecil is perfect for a romantic date night and the vibe is so modern. If ever in Harlem, the Cecil is the place to be!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Must!
    NCGoodEats
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    As a fan of Red Rooster Harlem, heard Cecil was equally charming, worth the try. Celebrated a romantic birthday dinner on a Monday nite. Spectacular menu options. Oxtail dumplings to start, Wok bar (pineapple black rice with pork ribs), a perfect mix of spicy, sweet and savory, lamb shoulder, and coconut cake for dessert - the fusion of flavors perfect! Fun energy in the room, groups, intimate couples, even for a Monday, not overly fancy, comfortable, great colors that pay homage to the cultural influence of the menu. From the doorman greeting us, the hostess and wait staff, as well as the manager stopping by to chat, we were treated with the highest service. A must amidst all the overrated and overpriced dining the city has to offer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great find in Harlem
    gargantua2VIP
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    We had a superb dinner at the Cecil - the chef is highly creative and the food is delicious -- two things that sadly don't always go together. There are elements of African and Carribean cuisine, but this isn't an "African" or "Carribean" restaurant -- it's an original that blends many currents effectively. The high point was the most traditional dish - the gumbo -- which was simply by far the best gumbo I've ever eaten. The other entree we tried, the guinea hen, was also excellent, fried in a light sauce with hints of vinegar and cinammon. Excellent starters - brisket egg rolls are a standout but the skewered beef and sausage dumplings were also very good. Malva pudding was great as well. This is a place I'll go back to in a second.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • cold food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    The restaurant is a amazing. I made a specific request to the manager to assure my party hot food and the food was not hot. This is my 3rd visit and 2 times the food was not hot. That is could be a deal breaker for a 4th visit. It's unfortunate because it is such a great restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • delicious dining
    luv2dine
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    I am a native New Yorker, a foodie and have traveled extensively internationally with my husband. The dinner we enjoyed this past Saturday night at Cecil was extraordinary. We usually order a series of appetizers instead of an entree to experience the creative and culinary point of view of of the chef, but this time we also ordered an entree, a Portuguese bean dish (can't remember the name) that had so many layers of flavors and textures and was the best dish of all! Our waiter couldn't have been nicer and was well informed about the dishes and specials. We can't wait to go back to enjoy other unique dishes on the menu. Carolyn
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Harlem Gem
    AllisonC
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Cute little hidden gem on 118th Street. Excellent food with a creative twist to the brunch menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Costly but a great place to dine.
    Tate
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    The Cecil is a charming dining place with great ambiance, and customer friendly staff. My friend and I were seated immeditely upon arriving at our reserved time. The choices on the Menu were varied and the dishes-Small Meals, Main Course (which my friend and I shared a taste of each other's selection) were tasty, well seasoned, intriguing and a suffficient portion to fill each of us. This was my second visit to the Cecil and I will definitely return again. Finally, we were not rushed and allowed almost 2 hours to complete our meal. The overall cost for a drink and dinner is expensive so I would limit my visit for special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • EXTREMELY Noisy
    fiveborodiner
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Food and Service were very good. However, I could not recommend this restaurant to any friends or colleagues because the noise level was unpleasantly loud. and I think the noise issue would be a problem for clientele of any age. To say the noise level is "energetic" is an understatement.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • great but incredibly noisy
    clcclcVIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    The very delicious and interesting food is seriously marred by the unbearably loud atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A Lovely Dinner
    susanmf
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Creative menu - love the small plates concept. Innovative cocktails started the evening. Food was delicious and servie attentive, not overbearing. Many on the floor (other than wait person) helped clear dishes, fill water, and take orders.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful atmosphere!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Visiting Columbia University brought us to this end of town. The Cecil, on its historic corner, offered personal staff, big smiles, incredible creative choices on the menu (we actually ordered an extra entrée just to try it) and a very comfortable and current décor. The lighting, cutlery, napkins and art were all noted. Service was a little off with a couple of forgotten drinks but I would go back in a minute and next time try to catch some jazz at Mintons after dinner (we were too late)!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A New Harlem Gem!
    ZydecoBB
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    As real foodies, who rarely eat out, this was a huge find which will change our minds about eating at home. Everything was delicious. The staff was friendly and very helpful. Best fried okra ever! The Country Breakfast was delicious and the entre with brisket was to die for. Can't wait to return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious
    yumseeker
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    The food here was absolutely outstanding. A very tasty twist on a variety of cuisines, and the cocktails were also delicious. The service was a little slow (did not receive our drinks until after our appetizer had been served), but overall it was a memorable meal. It feels like a true part of the Harlem neighborhood - it's quite a gem. I loved the doorman outside the restaurant - a classy touch. Definitely very pricey, however.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Interesting Menu
    justvisting
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Beautiful spot. Great staff. The menu is unique and different. Be ready to try something new. Its the new Harlem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • FoodieAB
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We came for brunch and were one of the first tables there. The place is absolutely gorgeous. Our waiter was nice, funny, and knowledgable. All of his recommendations were amazing. The bread basket was fresh and delicious. The crispy rib appetizer was great and a the portion was great for all of us to share. We all enjoyed our entrees and definitely will be coming back. The only issue keeping this from 5 stars was the timing. We were one of the first three tables there but it took forever to be greated, it took almost 10 minutes to get coffee, and my Bloody Mary came after the appetizers were delivered. My friends and I had time so the pace was more of an annoynce than a real issue. I would definitely recommend this place!!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Acquired Taste
    JessforBacon
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    This is a beautiful restaurant in Harlem, very "energetic" (aka loud) not recommended for romantic dates or picky eaters. The unique menu is perhaps for those who appreciate experiment food.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • You must go!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Great food. Great time with friends. Great service. Great space.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful experience
    LuvgrtfoodVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Our first dining experience in Harlem, with African fusion food. Very, very good. Lots of choices, from seafood to steak. Nothing too funky. But many interesting choices. I would certainly recommend! By the way, the prices are very reasonable, considering this restaurant is located in New York city!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delightfully Creative Menu
    IDontReviewALot
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    In the name of fairness I will award 4 stars to The Cecil, giving them the benefit of the doubt that the sub-par service is not usually the case. The food was great, really showcasing a creative blend of flavors. There is a lot of subtle but eye-catching art that creates a romantic atmosphere without being cloying. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and understand why a friend recommended this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing food experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Everything we ordered was orgasmic! Can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food
    amarri
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The food was good as advertised. The entrees were flavorful and spicy. The goat cheese cake was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Interesting food, slow service
    thechopper
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    - The food is incredibly interesting, well crafted and well executed menu - Waiting more than an hour with only another two tables full in the whole 40+ seating restaurant is absurd - It's pricey for Harlem, not crazy for NYC by any means
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Find!
    Brittblu
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We had a great evening at the Cecil tonight and can't wait to go back! Upon my arrival I expressed to the hostess that I was a bit trepid about the menu because everything was so "different" and my husband & I had a few unsatisfactory experiences while dining in Harlem. She was incredibly accommodating to us & took the time to share not just her favorites but all the "go to items" on the menu. From her small plate recommendations to the dessert, everything was divine! The Lamb Ribs, Fejoida, and Goat Cheesecake are a MUST. Between our gracious server, Mahmoud, and Theresa whom was a gem we were delighted & relieved, we have most certainly found our "Spot" in Harlem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing
    JonesMunoz
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We have to say, The Cecil went way beyond our expectations, We started with the Jumbo Prawns with Ginger salad and spicy hot sauce & yogurt Lamb ribs with caramelized brown sugar as appetizers. Bravo! Now we came to this place because of a recommendation from Nadia G's, The Chef, Joseph "JJ" amazed us even more than we would have thought. There we're so many options we didn't get to try everything we wanted. Now last, the staff was top notch...."the bomb" as another reviewer said, friendly, attentive, articulate and the bartender had some great suggestions for pairing our wines with our food selections. The Chef came by and welcomed us which was well done, The manager, Kyle Ramsy, took us Next door to Milton's for some after dinner
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Definitely recommended
    OBJECTS
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    We had a great time at the Cecil. The food was excellent and the menu is very unique. Great service and on the street parking! I can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We were late and thus....well
    SLH4HairVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    We were a party of 5 that cut our days activities too close. We had a 9:30 reservation I didn't realize that the restaurant actually closed at 10:00 which meant that the kitchen started or closed at 9:45 per the hostess (I called to say that we would be a little late). I think it would be best if they only took reservations up to 9pm. I had to send my Steak back as is was way, way over medium well. We felt that we were somewhat rushed by our waitress not so much by her actions but by her demeanor. Now about the food awesome we had the collard green salad....just enough spiciness, the gumbo was great as well as the oxtail dumplings. We'll be back only this time we'll come earlier!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Pretty dimly lit setting. Tis all.
    Skinnyeats
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I went with 5 other women to celebrate my sister's birthday. I picked this place because the menu was eclectic. I ordered the suya which was absolutely horrid. Ribs, squid, snapper, and some sort of chicken noodle dish. ALL were terrible. We eat out a lot and are very open and adventurous but this was very very bad. My Mai tai drink was good. I felt soo bad that my sister's birthday dinner was a complete and utter mess. We didn't even have deserts the food was soo bad! Who passes on at least one desert on a bday?!?! The food here will make you say "no thank you".
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic!
    Adrienne
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Friends for brunch at The Cecil -- what a fantastic place! The food was excellent -- the service and ambiance just great! Definitely going back soon!!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Creative menu, great diverse crowd.
    Afroasianfoodie
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    A festive, unpretentious atmosphere, delicious food and a truly "good vibes" staff. It's a great place for a group celebration, family brunch or just a welcoming solo meal at the bar. The menu is inventive and also contains great comfort food items. The diverse and often artistic crowd reminds one of the best of Harlem Renaissance heyday. Bravo!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    The Cecil is a beautiful space in Harlem. The staff was very nice and patient. I came here for restaurant week and had the dumplings as an appetizer which were very good, but made the mistake of ordering the vegetable platter which had overcooked soba noodles and veggies. My friend had the salmon and it was delicious and the person next to me had the piri piri fried chicken which smelled delicious. Their ganache dessert was totally decadent. I would definitely go back and try some of their signature dishes, as a gentleman sitting next to us raved about the macaroni and cheese.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Mooshey
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The staff was very polite and accommodating. Good was delicious. Restaurant was beautiful. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Won't go back
    eateruwsVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    The ambiance is terrific and some of the food was excellent but the experience was horrible. An hour wait for our meals, one entree came out fifteen mins before the other and even though they kept apologizing and gave us drinks to wait it out it was an excruciatingly poor experience. It's quite pricey, and when you charge prices like this, service should be much much better. I have been here a few times before and it was fine, but I will never return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Food
    EllieVIP
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    The Cecil is a great restaurant with a wonderful and unique menu. The food was top quality and prepared perfectly. The Restaurant Week menu was diverse and offered a lot of choices. This is hot restaurant so get reservations early. Beware it is very loud and noisy...
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Experience
    DineOut
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    When I first walked in I thought the place looked great. The bar was nice and elegant. And when I walked into the dining area it was a classy elegant ambiance. After a certain time they dim the lights. The food was very good. They have dishes that are unique and different. One dish, I expected a certain taste and style of cooking but it wasn't - so I wanted a different dish. The waiter gave me no trouble at all and was more than happy to accommodate me. The service was excellent. I will be returning!!!!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • + : Food, service / - : noise, wait
    foodlover
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We were 2 and had dinner at The Cecil last week. Food was AMAZING !!!!! One of the best meals I've had. The only downside is the waiting time: we waited 40 minutes before getting our food (fortunately we had wine!!) but it is true that the restaurant was full. Therefore the noise level is quite high to be honest but still OK. Last but not least service is OUTSTANDING !!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    Amazing
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    I thoroughly enjoyed our evening at The Cecil. Our server (Charles) went beyond our expectations of assisting us with the choices on the menu and was very friendly. The food selections that were recommended, we enjoyed thoroughly. The entire staff was warm and friendly and made you feel comfortable. I would recommend this restaurant to my friends, I told my daughter she would thoroughly enjoy an evening at The Cecil.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    This restaurant is fantastic. The service is impeccable. The food is imaginative and delicious. There was one item I selected that didn't completely fulfill my expectations but it was still delicious (and I ate half of it -- didn't want to over eat in order to taste all the wonderful things I had selected). The Afro/Asian American Oxtail dumplings are a must. The bar has innovative drinks. I had a hibiscus tequila cocktail that tasted fresh and not sweet. And the service? Wow. Impressed all the way. Indeed a gem in Harlem. I will tell anyone who will listen about this beautiful place. I hope it remains consistent since I don't know that there is much they can improve on. Lovely in every way.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • foodieandtheblowfish
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Cecil has incredibly unique culinary offerings however the wait between courses was noticeably long and even painful. We were there late when there were few patrons left and was still a long wait. The staff was upbeat, attentive and pleasant and the atmosphere was lovely. It was extremely loud which will work if you are a large party equally loud. However if you would prefer an intimate dining experience best to sit in the front room where the tables are smaller and you close enough to hear your friend
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent!
    SasPVIP
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    Great food, great spot. My only complaint is the very long wait between courses, I mean upwards of 15 mins betwen appetizer and main dish. Besides that, I was impressed.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.