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West African restaurant; alcohol is prohibited.

Our Review

Owned by brother and sister Boubacar and Diaw Sow, Café Senegal is look-close-or-you’ll-miss-it small though tastefully done up in vibrant tropical colors with tablecloth designs echoing an African theme. When they owned the grocery a few doors down, the Sows started dishing out West African specialties along with hometown favorites like gyros and Italian beef. Now in their new place, it’s all about the cuisine of Senegal, where Diaw learned to cook from her mother and aunts. Food here is mostly zabiha halal (with the exception of a recently introduced menu of Jamaican food). Ceebu jen is red snapper on tomato rice, delicately stewed with laid-back seasonings; sup kanja is described as an "okra sauce" but it’s more complex than that sounds, with chunks of lamb, dried fish, and smoked turkey. Senegal is known as the peanut capital of the world, and the legume is prominent in mafe yapp, traditional peanut butter stew, and dakhine, lamb and beans in a peanut sauce. Served as dessert (though probably also an excellent breakfast), thiakhri is simply yogurt and couscous with raisins, a creamy puddinglike confection that cools the palate after hot sauces that are served with meat pasties Boubacar says are neighborhood faves. Diaw makes her own sugary sorrel and flu-season-appropriate ginger beverages, and soon she’ll be serving omelets and baguettes on a Frenchified breakfast menu.

David Hammond

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Price: $


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