Two nights ago I went out to Taxi Brousse along with some family—party of 7—around 9pm. The place was nearly deserted, which was a shame because the food turned out to be great and even more so the ambiance.
We ordered two appetizers:
1. "Aloko" are fried plantains with a tamarind dipping sauce on the side. The plantains were crispy on the outside and pleasantly "gooshy" on the inside. The sauce nicely balanced-out the rich fruit.
2. "Pastelles" are basically empanadas. We had ours with a beef filling which seemed to be spiced with maybe red pepper and garlic. My wife loved them so much that she wished we ordered more.
Half of us ordered different forms of Dibi, which involves a meat with onions. Most of us had chicken, though one of us had lamb. My chicken was very good, with a blackened, spicy skin. It seems to have been seared in a pan. This is the kind of chicken with skin and bones, so if you're into the boneless only (like my wife is), then you may want to pass. I found it to be delicious, with a bite that came both from spiciness and maybe some acidity. The lamb was gobbled-up and I didn't get any, but it was supposedly very good as well. All the Dibis also come with a side salad (good, but slightly over-dressed) and a very generous helping of plantains (yum!).
The other dish on my side of the table was ordered by my sister-in-law: Tchou. It's onions, tomatoes, garlic, and and red pepper with a meat. She asked for tofu, which wasn't an option for that item, but they very happily accommodated her. She enjoyed it.
All of the main dishes come with rice or couscous. The rice is of the sticky variety and is plain, but very good. The couscous was cooked with raisins and possibly some spices (I mainly just ate my rice).
We all had some of their juices. The hibiscus tastes like a hibiscusy pomegranate juice. The tamarind is, well...it tastes like tamarind. The ginger juice is good and VERY gingery.
The atmosphere at Taxi Brouse is cozy and exotic without being cheesy or over-the-top. All around the edges are benches with pillows. The tables are up against them with chairs along the outside. The ceiling is covered with straw mats. There is some outside seating with a few tables as well. A screen plays Senegalese concerts, dancing, and music videos. The waiter was very nice and took care of all our needs and the owner went WAY out of his way to make sure we were welcomed and taken care of. It felt as if we were taken into his home and fed home food.
I very much recommend Taxi Brousse and will be going back!
1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706