Le BaoBab West African Restaurant
120-126 W 116th St @ Lenox
(across the street from Amy Ruth’s)
212 864 4700
So the other day, we were itching to have some Chicken and Waffles at Amy Ruth’s in Harlem but as usual there was an annoyingly long line. Now they have a velvet rope for crowd control on the side walk. Most of the patrons look like tourists. I guess this is what happens when you get featured in a few reviews. Good to know that there are still plenty of great restaurants that all the glitzy food reviewers (I ain’t one of those) haven’t hit yet. For example, Le Baobab directly across the street from Amy Ruth’s. Although not the same soul food menu as Amy Ruth’s, Le Baobab has some classic West African dishes that are equally delicious. For example Thiebu Djen : Fish stewed in a rich tomato sacue with eggplant, carrots, cassava and white cabbage or Thiebu Yap ($9): Lamb with rice and stewed vegetables. I got a plate of the Thiebu Yap and Sing got a Poisson Grille ($12) which is a whole fried fish served with a spicy onion marinade and white rice. Little did we know that Le BaoBab serves family style and before we knew it we were served 2 enormous plates with huge portions. The fish was great along with the onion marinade and if you like lamb then the Thiebu Yap is for you. There’s chunks of oxtail (lamb I suppose) with the meat coming off the bone, mixed with the rice it’s a powerful combination for sure. Like I said, these tourists who come up to Harlem for the experience have it all wrong – yes Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s are great places to go but if you’re going to come up to Harlem to really appreciate the neighborhood, you have to step away from the bright clean NY Times Dining approved restaurants and savor the local flavor.