Last night, my wife and I went to Le Dakar, the new Senegalese place in West Philly (4527 Baltimore Avenue). Though the area north of Baltimore Ave is absolutely beautiful, that block of Baltimore is croweded with low rent stores and, at least last night, many grown men hanging out on the street, some with bottles in brown paper bags and some not.
Le Dakar itself is behind an iron gate that's a bit intimidating. Inside, however, it's pleasant, though sparse. In the back of the restaurant was a tv playing a reggae concert of a person who looked and acted like Bob Marley. Several men watched the screen intently for the entire time we were there.
The menus are on a single photocopied page. There are about 8 choices and no appetizers. Apparently, there is one dessert, a rice pudding like sweet, that was not on the menu. We asked the waitress for a recommendation and she suggested the mafe, a peanut butter stew and the cassavas with meat.
The mafe was excellent. It was a generous portion of lamb in a creamy sauce that looked and tasted like thinned peanut butter. The sauce was clinging but not gloppy. Though it was tasty, we did not like the cassava leaf sauce as much. This was served atop tender lamb. The cassava leaf seems close to a spinach and the dish, to me, closely resembled an Indian Saag sauce (ie Saag Paneer). Each entree came in a dish with a separate enormous plate of white rice.
There was too much food to finish it all, even though we had only two entrees and nothing else. When we were finished, I asked for a check. There was no check and the waitress said we owed $12. Apparently, tax was included. I left a $3, so the entire meal with tip and tax came to $15.
I would like to go back some time to check out some of the other dishes. I won't rush back but I was able to have some things that I've never had before and the price was right.
A DDC there would be fun. They have the room and I'm sure it could be about $15 per person.
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