I live in the area and walk past this place daily. Stopped in on a couple of occasions for drinks or to watch the World Cup. But randomly I saw the chef on Iron Chef America go up against Bobby Flay (note: he got owned) so I decided to stop in and give it a try. Before doing so, I also checked out what nymag.com had to say about it and they had it rated as one of their Critic's Picks.
My wife and I shared the accara (black-eye pea fritters) with a spicy dipping sauce. These were amazing. I'm not a huge fan of fried fritters or dumplings, but these were surprisingly not greasy, very fresh and had great taste. The dipping sauce was too spicy for my taste and unecessary IMO. We also shared the coconut mussels in a thai curry sauce. While they could definitely stand to find a new procurer of quality mussels, the sauce was phenomenal. The mussels also came with delicious yucca fries that were fried to perfection.
For our entrees, we shared the roasted lamb dibi and the seafood-okra gumbo. The lamb wasn't bad, but definitely not memorable in any way. Quality of meat and taste were good, but slightly overcooked (note: we were initially not asked what temp we'd like our meat cooked to). The seafood-okra gumbo was easily another highlight of the meal. We shared a bottle of chilean sauvignon blanc that was pretty good and a decent value at $26.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at this neighborhood spot. I feel guilty that I've lived in the area for so long and never once gave it a chance, but it's definitely worth it. I've seen reviews on other sites that were critical of the service. I will say that this spot has a very "caribbean vacation" vibe. The servers are not in a rush and the food does take a long time to arrive. However, I think this is partly a function of the fact that the place never seems crowded so they prepare everything pretty much from scratch. Also, the server was tending the bar - again, this just seemed like a resource management thing not necessarily gross negligence. If you're looking for a place with polished service that runs like a well-oiled machine, then this isn't for you. But if you're looking for an inexpensive meal that is a very good value, ethnically authentic and has a relaxed, family and friends-like atmosphere, then I strongly encourage Le Grand Dakar.
Le Grand Dakar
285 Grand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
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