La Marmite West African Restaurant Harlem
2264 Frederick Douglas Ave @ 122nd St
Back uptown for food this weekend. This time up in Harlem doing some Christmas shopping and went to La Marmite for lunch. It’s truly a treasure of a restaurant that the locals highly value. First off, how can you go wrong with the bric brac decor – check out the straw hut awning over the doorway and within the restaurant. I wanted to order the Yassa Poulet which is a thick piece of dark or white chicken in a spicy lemon sauce served with white rice ($9), but they were currently sold out and the waitress suggested (and upgraded me to) the Poulet Braise ($10) which is a half baked chicken in a spicy mustard sauce served with vegetables and a spicy onion sauce. The chicken was amazing : it was marinated in a sweet mustard sauce and pan fried to a crisp as if it was deep fried. The chicken was served with a heap of “onion sauce” – caramelized onions fried with a curry like spice that definitely had a strong kick to it. The white rice was a short grain that was deliciously soft and tender and made a great compliment to the spicy onion sauce and the crispy chicken. The portions were enormous and for just $10, this could have been lunch or dinner for 2.
We also ordered a plate of Thiebou Djeun – a famous West African dish which includes salted red snapper, yucca, stewed carrots over fried rice. The fish was soft and tender and stuffed with a mix of herbs and spices – not too salty nor spicy. I had half expected it to be extremely salty and smelly like Chinese salted fish, but this was more subtle and more agreeable to my taste. The sides included eggplant, stewed carrots, yucca, and a cardamom bean mixture. The fried rice was also a short grain variety and had the consistency of Asian sweet rice.