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Bissap Baobab report

Malik | Apr 19, 2005 09:03 PM

Last Tuesday, I had dinner at Bissap Baobab with three friends. We ended up ordering a good chunk of the menu. Here's what we had, along with descriptions from the online menu for the dishes listed there:

Appetizers

Aloko ($3.75) - Fried plantains served with a tamarind sauce.
The plantains were very stale, they must have been fried hours before and were not even warm by the time they got to us. This dish was plain bad, no redeeming qualities to it.

Accra ($4.75) - Vegetarian beignets made with black eye beans served with a spicy tomato sauce.
Another deep fried dish that had been prepared long in advance and brought to us cold. Again, it may have tasted OK if it had been served to us fresh out of the fryer, but it really wasn't very good the way we got it.

Pastelles ($5.25) - Deep fried pastry filled with either marinated tuna, beef or feta spinach and topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
We ordered these with the beef filling. This dish came to us hot, and was one of the rare successes of the night.

Entrees

Mafe ($8.75) - Originally from the border of Mali. Vegetables in a peanut sauce served with a choice of rice or couscous.
This dish comes in three versions (vegetables, tofu or chicken), we had it with chicken. Very strong peanut flavor, reminiscent of Thai satay. I though it was fine but not compelling, but then again I'm not a big fan of peanut sauce.

Seafood Coconut ($12.75)
I believe there was a choice of shrimp or fish, we chose fish. A couple of pieces of fish in a mild coconut sauce, I found it rather bland and under-salted. It could have used some spice or acidity to give it more balance and depth of flavor.

Joalienne ($14.75)
A paella like dish consisting of mixed seafood, a tomato based sauce and rice sauteed together. Lots of different seafood in it, including mussels, clams, shrimps and fish. I didn't like this dish either, but the person who ordered it was reasonably happy with it.

Yapou Khar ($10.75) - Originally from the city of Thies. Tender lamb in a vegetable sauce served with a choice of rice or couscous.
Probably the most flavorful entree of the night, the problem with it is that the lamb pieces was dry and overcooked. But the sauce itself was quite good.

By the way, as far as accompaniments go, the rice was much better than the couscous, which was dry and stale.

Dessert

Creme Brulee ($5.50)
I wanted to try the Senegalese yogurt, but was overruled. The creme brulee came in a chocolate mold, it was not particularly compelling and there was very little crunch to the topping.

Overall, we were rather disappointed with the food. I certainly would not choose to eat there again. The cocktails were decent, but on a Tuesday night you're better off going to their other outpost around the corner (Little Baobab on 19th St), where drinks are half price on Tuesday night.

Bissap Baobab
2323 Mission St
San Francisco
415-826-9287

Link: http://www.bissapbaobab.com/menu.php

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