Had a fine meal at Keur Sokhna (225 W 116th St. bet 7th and 8th 212-864-0081) last night.
Storefront joint, about 8 formica tables, decore is non-existent except for opulent plastic curtains and portraits of (religious? political?) African figures on the walls. Lots of French-speaking locals milling about waiting for their takeout food, chattering in their patois. French language news on the TV, Dire Straits on the PA. One could easily imagine oneself in a large-city third-world takeout joint, and in this way it is more evocative of foreign travel than most ethnic eateries with more formal theme-decore.
Mafe Yapp (peanut Butter Stew) was rich and mildly spiced stew of lamb. Fork-droppingly heavenwards-gazingly good. Bones are cut for access to marrow. It is relentlessly heavy and rich, and even though it is served with rice, it could use something to offset. The menu offers no sides, so I recommend a salad and a ginger drink to clear the tastebuds between bites. I wonder if they would mind if I brought beer? It seems a good lager would be just right to cleanse the buds.
Poisson Braise (grilled fish) is served with a little salad and a wonderful mustard-and-onions sauce. Again, slightly spicy but not much. Really fantastic.
Gotta go back and try more dishes.
The menu lists "special breakfast" which sounds intrigueing; thiaky, chawarma, nems (plat), sandwich, and pastel are available from 8:00 to 11:30. Don't ask me what they are!
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