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Badou Sengalese Cuisine on Howard Street

Badou Sengalese Cuisine on Howard Street
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  • Badou Sengalese Cuisine on Howard Street

    Post #1 - December 19th, 2012, 3:18 pm
    Post #1 - December 19th, 2012, 3:18 pm Post #1 - December 19th, 2012, 3:18 pm
    During today’s first-time visit for lunch, the nice lady behind the counter suggested that we order two appetizers and two entrees as our introduction to Sengalese cuisine. All four items were terrific, as were the two drinks that we tried.

    Bissap is a purple-hued, pleasantly sweet drink made from hibiscus leaves. The Ginger Cocktail is a sharp and spicy blend of ginger and pineapple juices that cuts right through the spiciness of the food. Both are very good and enjoyably refreshing.

    Pastels are empanada-like pastries that we had stuffed with salmon. The wrapper is thin (think: fried mandoo) and very light. The filling is tasty, with a slight kick. Boulettes are tomato-sauced balls of chicken, also in a light pastry and mildly spicy. Both are order-again fun to eat.

    Mafe is a marvelous dish of chicken and yams bathed in a creamy peanut sauce and served over rice. Yassa Guinar is a tasty dish of chicken and onion strips in a peppery, lemon sauce, also served over rice. Be prepared to embarrass yourself by licking the plates so clean that they do not need a run through the dishwasher.

    The dining area is pleasantly decorated with African artwork. The service was friendly and very attentive. It might have helped that we were the only diners at lunch.

    Definitely a wonderful introduction to Sengalese food and an inspiration to work your way through the entire menu. We will definitely do a MacArthur.

    Badou Sengalese Cuisine
    2055 W. Howard Street
    Chicago, IL 606
    773-293-6913

    http://www.badousenegalesecuisine.com
  • Post #2 - December 19th, 2012, 4:38 pm
    Post #2 - December 19th, 2012, 4:38 pm Post #2 - December 19th, 2012, 4:38 pm
    Sula had a pretty enthusiastic review appear in last week's Reader . . .

    at ChicagoReader.com,Mike Sula wrote:Badou's isn't Chicago's only Senegalese restaurant—Chatham's beloved Yassa was first—and for now, Badou isn't always immediately prepared to cook everything on the menu. But he'll go to great lengths to make something happen. On my second visit, when Jones told me she was out of collard greens, she called Diakhate at work on his lunch break asking him what she should make. For the second time he abandoned his own meal and rushed into the otherwise empty restaurant to cook for us. In short order he produced a plate of yassa djen, a whole, lime-seasoned tilapia smothered in caramelized onion and a chile sauce made with jalapeños and Jamaican scotch bonnets. Then came a blazing hot plate of diby yaap, supertender chunks of lamb seasoned in a vinegary onion sauce that was equal parts Jamaican jerk and vinegary escoveitch. These plates were preceded by piping hot pastels, empanada-like puff pastries stuffed with peppery shredded chicken and served with two beverages: icy glasses of purple bissap, a sweet drink made from hibiscus blossoms said to be good for blood pressure, and a spicy ginger-pineapple cocktail.

    Senegalese soul food shines at Badou

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #3 - December 20th, 2012, 10:34 am
    Post #3 - December 20th, 2012, 10:34 am Post #3 - December 20th, 2012, 10:34 am
    The Evanston Lunch Group ate at Badou last month, and we have been quite remiss not to post about it. We all enjoyed the food, I think, and the service was warm in their small strip mall storefront, which is nicely decorated with Sengalese art. Standouts in my memory were the pastel, an empanada-like stuffed pastry, and the cebbu yapp, a rice and chicken dish. We did get a kick out of the "Sengalese Beefsteak," which is actually lamb. Everything was well-prepared, reasonable, and worth trying. I think they are struggling as a new restaurant, so I hope people will try it.
  • Post #4 - December 21st, 2012, 12:53 am
    Post #4 - December 21st, 2012, 12:53 am Post #4 - December 21st, 2012, 12:53 am
    I am remiss in not posting photos yet, but I will. I was surprised at how good the food was.
  • Post #5 - January 4th, 2013, 11:08 pm
    Post #5 - January 4th, 2013, 11:08 pm Post #5 - January 4th, 2013, 11:08 pm
    Another terrific dinner tonight at Badou. In addition to the outstanding Mafe (a peanut-lover’s wet dream), we had the Thiebou Djen (a deep-fried fish with a chile-tamarind sauce served over very tasty djolof rice) and a dish described as Badou’s Seafood Delight (it was both) with the added kicker of a delicious lobster.

    All three were order-again treats, complemented by the sweet Bissap and the tangy Ginger Cocktail drinks to wash down the spicy richness of the food.

    A tip for impatient diners: The food and the warm hospitality are best enjoyed when you have the time to savor each course and spend some time talking with Badou and Paula. They are both very friendly and attentive, which encourages you to linger over your meal. Badou has many stories to tell and he’s got a great sense of humor.

    If you are in a hurry, then forego the lobster option, as that requires ~30 minutes of prep time. I wonder if there is a way to reduce the lobster prep time for people who might be on a tight time schedule. Something to inquire about on the next visit – which might be tomorrow.
  • Post #6 - January 5th, 2013, 10:07 am
    Post #6 - January 5th, 2013, 10:07 am Post #6 - January 5th, 2013, 10:07 am
    Has anyone tried the chef's signature chocolate cake dessert? I'm wondering if it's homemade or has any Senegalese influences. It's the only dessert on the menu, so naturally, I'm curious.
  • Post #7 - January 28th, 2013, 9:01 pm
    Post #7 - January 28th, 2013, 9:01 pm Post #7 - January 28th, 2013, 9:01 pm
    I and a couple other LTHers had a great dinner here last week. Not only was the food delicious but Badou and his wife Paula were great hosts. They were out of a few items, so we decided to put ourselves in Badou's hands. That was a good choice. He asked us a few questions about our preferences and then brought some great dishes to the table . . .

    Image
    Badou Senegalese Cuisine - 2055 Howard St, Chicago
    Located in a small strip mall on the south side of Howard Street.


    Image
    Pastel and Boulette
    The half-moon items were the pastels and there were 2 types -- one filled with chicken and one filled with fish (iirc). The spherical item is the boulette.


    Image
    Boulette
    This was filled with some spicy salmon and was very delicious. These were served with a "tomato" sauce (in the cups pictured above) that was really tasty. We at the table all agreed that it was more oniony than tomatoey but either way, it was great.


    Image
    Diby Yapp
    After learning that we liked meat, Badou made sure that we had this lamb dish. It was fantastic, with lots of spice (though, not particularly hot) and tender chunks of lamb.


    Image
    Thiou Chicken Curry
    Another really nice combination of flavors. This was unlike any other curry I'd ever had before. I wish it had been a bit spicier but I think my companions were very happy with the heat level. Badou will customize the spice level of his food to the taste of his customers but having never been there before, this trip was all about calibration for us. :wink:


    Image
    Badou Soul Food Delight
    My favorite dish of the night. I loved the complexly-flavored greens and their intense heat. The tender shards of smoked turkey were great accents.


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    Thiebou Djen
    Badou told us that this is the national dish of Senegal but also admitted after we had it that it wasn't quite as authentic a version as he likes to serve. He told us that the actual dish is much richer. I'm also guessing from reading Sula's review in the Reader that it normally involves a whole fish. Still the flavors were very nice.


    Image
    Badou & Paula
    These guys are phenomenal cooks, great hosts, and extremely enthusiastic about what they're doing. At the end of our meal, Badou urged us to put a group together, call in advance and let him cook a meal for us as it's typically done in "the Motherland." That is an offer that I find just about impossible to refuse. :)

    =R=

    Badou Senegalese Cuisine
    2055 Howard St
    Chicago, IL 60645
    (773) 293-6913
    BYOB
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - January 29th, 2013, 4:12 pm
    Post #8 - January 29th, 2013, 4:12 pm Post #8 - January 29th, 2013, 4:12 pm
    Thanks Ronnie for the awesome photos. Once again, I learned about a place that would have otherwise passed me by in my constant search for good comfort meals. The Diby Yapp lamb dish looks so darn good ! Im having visions of a Diby Yapp/Thiebou Djen surf and turf. :D
  • Post #9 - January 30th, 2013, 12:11 pm
    Post #9 - January 30th, 2013, 12:11 pm Post #9 - January 30th, 2013, 12:11 pm
    A quick note. Joe Moore has these "follow-me" Fridays, where he goes to a different local restaurant each Friday with 100 of his closest friends to sample the food. On next Friday, he is going to Badou's. Anyhow, Badou is looking for some volunteers to help hand out food to the guests (Fois Gras will not be on the menu).
  • Post #10 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Post #10 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm Post #10 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    I can only imagine what it will be like when 100 people all show up there at the same time. The place is tiny. Well, at least Badou knows they're coming, which should help.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #11 - January 30th, 2013, 1:15 pm
    Post #11 - January 30th, 2013, 1:15 pm Post #11 - January 30th, 2013, 1:15 pm
    Hope they do not serve foie gras on Moore's Friday....
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #12 - January 30th, 2013, 8:02 pm
    Post #12 - January 30th, 2013, 8:02 pm Post #12 - January 30th, 2013, 8:02 pm
    Ah, the perils of procrastination. I’ve been working on this review but Ronnie beat me to it. I agree in large part with what he had to say, but have a very slightly different take (and one small correction), so I’ll add my two cents. (And if you think I’m posting my pics after seeing his, you’re crazy!)

    I will admit to some apprehension going in, positive reviews notwithstanding. I have tried Nigerian food over and over (at least half a dozen times) and always walk away unhappy. A few years ago, I even went to Bolat with a Nigerian student of mine to ensure (so far as it was within my power) that I got the “real thing.” He praised our meal and I sadly concluded that Nigerian food just isn’t for me. Given Senegal’s relative proximity to Nigeria, I was…concerned. Notwithstanding the fact that Senegal’s history is markedly different and thus the influences on its cooking have been very different, I was still a little iffy. I was wrong. Period. If you’re not a fan of Nigerian food, do not assume you will not like Senegalese food. Senegalese appears to be a world apart. French and Portuguese influences are notable.

    The day before we went, I called, just to let them know we were coming. (Mike Sula recommends doing so in this review. It’s good advice and I’d recommend it if you’re able to do so. If they know you’re coming, they can tell you when is a good time and, more important, be ready with particular dishes.) After a brief perusal of the menu and a longer discussion with Badou, we chose what Ron described above. At one point, Badou asked us if we liked meat (our entrees happened to be have been chicken, fish, and smoked turkey). Of course, we said. And so he talked us into ordering a lamb dish that we hadn’t initially chosen, not that it was all that hard to convince us to add to our spread.

    My sole correction is that the empanada-like pastries were pastels in one case and fataya in the other. From the outside, identical (at least to our eyes). But the fillings were different. The fataya were the pastries stuffed with salmon, onion, a tomato-ey paste of some sort. Apparently the biggest different is size: when they’re larger (and stuffed with meat), the fataya become pastels. At least that’s how I understand it. All of the apps were clearly handmade and, judging by the time it took for them to finally arrive (the better part of an hour when we were about the only folks there), Badou undoubtedly began from scratch. All were deep-fried and done to a near-perfect golden brown. None were particularly spicy and all had enticing flavor.

    Speaking of spiciness, we had a conversation at the outside with Badou in which he asked and we specified our desired level of heat. We insisted that we wanted whatever would be “appropriate” in Senegal. In other words, nothing “dumbed-down” for the stereotyped (i.e., less heat-tolerant) American taste. It took a little convincing but, fortunately—as will become evident when we get to the entrees—he believed us and cooked accordingly. At least insofar as we are able to tell, short of a trip to Dakar.

    I enjoyed the lamb most of all. It was very tender and, despite the use of pretty common basic ingredients (onion, vinegar). It had a low level of heat; I was surprised to find that Mike Sula described it as “blazing hot” (unless his reference was to temperature). I also found that the thiebou djen was very mellow, though I liked it the least of the entrees as well. Just not a lot going on particularly and a whole fish might well have added a dimension that the filet didn’t have.

    The only other comment I would add—I’m a little surprised Ron didn’t mention it—is that between us we brought a wide variety of beverages. The Magner’s pear cider might have been a nice match but it was lousy pear cider. Not much flavor, no depth, just not a well-received bottle. It was the only one of many that we didn’t bother to finish. The Lindemann’s apple (pomme) beer from Belgium was a nice match; I was sorry we didn’t get to the cherry version and I suspect many fruit-flavored beverages would be a great match for this food. Indeed, I meant to try the hibiscus, which is quite popular in Senegal, by all accounts. (I was curious to try the quinqueliba, a tea made from a bush native to Senegal, but they were out.) Ron brought a couple sour beers and other things; I’ll let him tell us what he brought. My take was that the less sour one was a nearly perfect match; the heavily sour one overwhelmed the food, I thought.

    Bottom line: a very enjoyable evening, a new (to me) cuisine with a lot of variety and flavor. If you’re curious, by all means go.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #13 - January 31st, 2013, 3:19 pm
    Post #13 - January 31st, 2013, 3:19 pm Post #13 - January 31st, 2013, 3:19 pm
    Thanks, Dave, for filing an actual, cogent report on our meal. :wink:

    Looking at the pictures I took of the menu, it wasn't clear to me if we had the fataya or not. Thanks, for clarifying that.

    The 2 beers I brought were a Bruery Tart of Darkness, a sour stout that I love but which was only a good fit for the food. The other beer, a Timmermans Lambicus Blanche, was just about perfect with the dishes and its floral note went really nicely with some of the spices in the dishes.

    That was a great meal. I've been thinking about it, and remembering it fondly, all week.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #14 - February 25th, 2013, 8:33 am
    Post #14 - February 25th, 2013, 8:33 am Post #14 - February 25th, 2013, 8:33 am
    I had a meal here recently and the experience was very mixed. I really hope they can address some of their pacing/throughput issues because the food is definitely good enough to justify a return visit.

    I found the cuisine exciting and unique because Badou incorporates grains/legumes into the entree, not just relying upon the accompanying rice (although I realize that Indian curries and Thai peanut sauces do this too). This creates a very rich flavor. The Mafe is an example of this - it is cooked in a peanut butter sauce. We also had the Pastel, Lentils and Senegalese National Dish. I would happily order any of these again.

    This is a small operation and they had trouble keeping up with the 16 diners in their room. The food wasn't coming out of the kitchen fast enough to even satisfy a half-full room. Some have touched on this in the thread, and even recommended to call ahead. I was ready for slow pacing and did call ahead, but it took over 3 hours for 4 dishes. I'm not sure what the issue was. I don't think they have the infrastructure in place to serve a full restaurant yet. Plates were being washed a la minute, maybe they don't have enough pans or their stove wasn't fully operational. Or perhaps their culture values a more relaxed experience rather than the frenetic pace one would expect in a typical restaurant in the weeds. It was kind of like dining at someone's house - which can be enjoyable, especially when BYO. It will be difficult to survive based upon the amount of food that came out of the kitchen that evening though.

    I'd love to hear that it was an off night because this husband/wife restaurant is really charming and unique.
  • Post #15 - February 25th, 2013, 11:25 am
    Post #15 - February 25th, 2013, 11:25 am Post #15 - February 25th, 2013, 11:25 am
    We're supposed to go this Thursday, but I'm not sure I want to spend 3 hours there (we'll be a party of 4). In addition to making reservations and calling ahead, I wonder if it'd be possible to order ahead (and put it on a card).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #16 - February 25th, 2013, 11:49 am
    Post #16 - February 25th, 2013, 11:49 am Post #16 - February 25th, 2013, 11:49 am
    You may want to arrive at a time when your party will be a majority of the dining room...perhaps 6:00 instead of 7:30. Also, carryout/delivery orders seemed to take precedence to dine in. Towards the end of the evening Badou acknowledged that it was taking long and was apologetic. Hopefully he'll adapt and start doing more prep before service or figure out the bottleneck. I hope you go...I'd like to hear that my experience was an anomaly.
  • Post #17 - February 25th, 2013, 11:54 am
    Post #17 - February 25th, 2013, 11:54 am Post #17 - February 25th, 2013, 11:54 am
    David Hammond wrote:We're supposed to go this Thursday, but I'm not sure I want to spend 3 hours there (we'll be a party of 4). In addition to making reservations and calling ahead, I wonder if it'd be possible to order ahead (and put it on a card).


    David--I believe Robert -- rgl201 -- did so before the Evanston Lunch Group gathering in November. You might want to check with him.

    viewtopic.php?f=19&t=36240
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #18 - February 25th, 2013, 12:01 pm
    Post #18 - February 25th, 2013, 12:01 pm Post #18 - February 25th, 2013, 12:01 pm
    It was definitely slow on my one visit but the circumstances of our dinner (a night of socializing and catching up with friends) made that largely irrelevant. That may have been the one negative in a sea of positives.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #19 - March 1st, 2013, 8:57 am
    Post #19 - March 1st, 2013, 8:57 am Post #19 - March 1st, 2013, 8:57 am
    showed up ~4pm to get some food to go as Mom is home bound due to knee replacement surgery. Paula could not have been more nice. I mentioned LTH and she was smiles stating they at a lot of food :D (I would expect nothing less!)

    I appreciated the fact that Paula said she is not a good chef when it came to preparing Diby Yapp and that Badou would be coming in about an hour & he could prepare (apparently 4 days per week, Badou isn't at the restaurant until ~5:15pm, FYI). She did have other options to suggest but upon futher thinking about it, I told her I'll just have to bring my family so that we can try numerous dishes, rather than just a couple.

    With a host this gracious, and good food reviews, I'm holding out hope that this place makes it.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #20 - March 1st, 2013, 12:10 pm
    Post #20 - March 1st, 2013, 12:10 pm Post #20 - March 1st, 2013, 12:10 pm
    Before arriving last night around 6:30, we’d telephoned Badou to see if he would be serving Thiebou Djen. Because we’d called, Badou made us some fish balls. He told us he’d never made these fish balls in his kitchen before. He didn’t know us, but he wanted to make us a little something special. I was sincerely touched.

    Image

    Though I definitely felt that Paula was steering us toward the filet ("because I don't like the bones," she said), I stuck with the whole fish, which Badou said was, indeed, tastier (bones add flavor).

    Eating at Badou’s Senegalese is probably a lot like eating at Badou’s house. En route to the washroom, I stopped in the kitchen a few times and talked to Badou and Paula as they cooked, and he gave me some things to taste while I was standing there.

    Image

    A few plates trickled out, and we shared those.

    Image

    Image

    Then Badou came out, had some of our beer, went back and cooked some more. And we ate some more.

    The whole meal took about three hours, and I do think this is combination of a more casual (less-fast paced) culture and the thoughtful cooking of Badou.

    We left feeling very good about the people, the place and the food.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #21 - March 8th, 2015, 8:43 pm
    Post #21 - March 8th, 2015, 8:43 pm Post #21 - March 8th, 2015, 8:43 pm
    We celebrated Swingbossa's birthday tonight at Badou with a group of 12 friends. The food is as delicious as described above. Badou really created a memorable evening, making a few off-menu items including whole red snapper and a lamb shank dish. He was a most gracious host, coming out to explain each dish and chat with us and serve us from the family- style platters. It really is like eating in Badou's home. As long as you can relax and don't need to be anywhere, a dinner at Badou is a wonderful experience.

    We got the sense business might be a bit slow so if you haven't been, go soon!
  • Post #22 - July 19th, 2015, 9:43 pm
    Post #22 - July 19th, 2015, 9:43 pm Post #22 - July 19th, 2015, 9:43 pm
    Saw Badou at the Celebrate Clark Street Festival* yesterday and went up to say hi. Not only did he remember my full name, but also my dining companion and what I ordered. I was shocked. The last time I ate there was over 2 years ago!

    I got a beef pastel, but was disappointed but sympathetic that he omitted the spice to appeal to the general public. He offered me some delicious maafe when I told him that I missed it. He told me that he recently went back to Senegal for the first time in a long time as part of a curious gig with WGN. You can watch the video here.

    *As an aside, I highly recommend this festival as a change from the usual micro-brew + $400 picture frames festivals. Great music, engaged but courteous crowd, and variety of interesting foods.
  • Post #23 - July 26th, 2015, 9:22 am
    Post #23 - July 26th, 2015, 9:22 am Post #23 - July 26th, 2015, 9:22 am
    After another group dinner, with a mostly different menu that before, excepting the mandatory djollof rice, I have to say this is one of my favorite restaurants ever. Not only has all of the food been excellent, one really feels the warmth of having someone cook for you who truly loves what he does. We are scheduling yet another group dinner since there are still some virgins out there, and the only dish I will request is maafe, along with asking for a bit more spice in some dishes.

    For those who have yet to try it, I recommend you make the trip; how ever many hours you spend there are worth it.
  • Post #24 - September 17th, 2015, 11:07 am
    Post #24 - September 17th, 2015, 11:07 am Post #24 - September 17th, 2015, 11:07 am
    As a Vegetarian, I am always a bit leery when I go to Island or West African restaurants as they are not very Veg friendly. Not so at Badou. They have a long, varied selection.

    As this was my first time, I had the Vegetarian Mafe, vegetarian Pastels and the Ginger-Pineapple drink (TO GO). I can only compare the effect on me to my reaction to when I first heard Afrobeat music: Where has this been all my life?

    I can easily imagine going back here regularly. This restaurant combined with the Taste of Trinidad next door is a vegetarians delight!

    The Mafe was really complex, spicy and haunting. What gave it the earthiness? Maybe bayleaves/oregano mix? It was fantastic. I browsed my cookbook collection and found a recipe that I am going to try this weekend.

    The pastels are not crispy by the time I got home. I should consume them straight from the fryer the next time I am there. Fried foods generally taste better fresh anyways. But the filling was very delicious, tasting very different from the usual samosa or empanada fillings I am used to.

    Overall, I am impressed. Is this a GNR? If not, it should be.
    The art of living well and art of dying well are one. ---Epicurus
  • Post #25 - September 17th, 2015, 11:11 am
    Post #25 - September 17th, 2015, 11:11 am Post #25 - September 17th, 2015, 11:11 am
    Indianbadger wrote:Overall, I am impressed. Is this a GNR? If not, it should be.

    No, it is not but when the time comes, hopefully you'll take the time to nominate it. :)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - September 17th, 2015, 2:55 pm
    Post #26 - September 17th, 2015, 2:55 pm Post #26 - September 17th, 2015, 2:55 pm
    Indianbadger wrote:As a Vegetarian, I am always a bit leery when I go to Island or West African restaurants as they are not very Veg friendly. Not so at Badou. They have a long, varied selection.

    As this was my first time, I had the Vegetarian Mafe, vegetarian Pastels and the Ginger-Pineapple drink (TO GO). I can only compare the effect on me to my reaction to when I first heard Afrobeat music: Where has this been all my life?

    I can easily imagine going back here regularly. This restaurant combined with the Taste of Trinidad next door is a vegetarians delight!
    .


    Thanks for this share. I find myself in the same position as you do. But I always read this thread. Now I have a new place to try.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #27 - September 17th, 2015, 2:59 pm
    Post #27 - September 17th, 2015, 2:59 pm Post #27 - September 17th, 2015, 2:59 pm
    Indianbadger wrote:As a Vegetarian, I am always a bit leery when I go to Island or West African restaurants as they are not very Veg friendly. Not so at Badou. They have a long, varied selection.

    As this was my first time, I had the Vegetarian Mafe, vegetarian Pastels and the Ginger-Pineapple drink (TO GO). I can only compare the effect on me to my reaction to when I first heard Afrobeat music: Where has this been all my life?

    I can easily imagine going back here regularly. This restaurant combined with the Taste of Trinidad next door is a vegetarians delight!

    The Mafe was really complex, spicy and haunting. What gave it the earthiness? Maybe bayleaves/oregano mix? It was fantastic. I browsed my cookbook collection and found a recipe that I am going to try this weekend.

    The pastels are not crispy by the time I got home. I should consume them straight from the fryer the next time I am there. Fried foods generally taste better fresh anyways. But the filling was very delicious, tasting very different from the usual samosa or empanada fillings I am used to.

    Overall, I am impressed. Is this a GNR? If not, it should be.


    I have the same reaction when I eat his Mafe. So much depth and flavor. The vegetarian Theibou Djen, Ndamme, and the Yassa are my other favorite vegetarian entrees there. They are all (or can be made) vegan too.
  • Post #28 - September 29th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    Post #28 - September 29th, 2015, 3:08 pm Post #28 - September 29th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    Went with some friends this last Saturday and what a unique experience dining here was. Walked in around 7:30 to an empty room and was asked "did you just call?" We had not and they seemed a little surprised that we were coming in but very gracious. Badou came out and joked that it had been a long day and that he was going to go home if the other group hadn't called. This conversation about calling ahead happened with every group that came in after us (though one of them obviously was the group who had called). The place filled up which was good to see.

    When ordering, we talked with the waitress and then with Badou (as I was coming back from the bathroom, which is basically in the kitchen, I was told "Badou needs to speak with you" so that he could make some recommendations). It was interesting because it seemed like they were trying as much as possible to steer us towards things they were already making, which makes sense and we were flexible so it worked out for us. We ordered the veggie pastel, plantains, ndamme, veggie mafe, yassa djen with fish and the diby yaap (lamb). We then proceeded to wait for a pretty long time for the food to come out; no worry, we were having fun chatting and you knew it was basically one guy making your food fresh to order.

    The food was incredible. We actually got the veggie balls instead of the pastel and but they were really good, nice level of spice and flavor. The plantains were pretty standard, but the other veggie dishes were very new flavors for me. The mafe was delicious, with the peanut and earthy flavors really strong. To be honest, it was a little rich for me (especially because I was eating most of it as a vegetarian) but the flavor was really great. The ndamme was the highlight of the meal; blackeyed peas cooked perfectly with thyme and other earthy/herby flavors. I could have been happy with many more orders of those. The fish received strong reviews, especially because of the prevalence of the citrus flavor and the great onions. The lamb basically was forgotten by Badou and when reminded, he prepared it but since it came out so much later than the rest of the food, people were basically full when it arrived. It was well reviewed as being nicely cooked but not much else was said.

    The food is incredible and we all agreed we would go back in a heartbeat. As others have noted, it is great as a vegetarian to have an ethnic restaurant that has such a large and delicious vegetarian menu. However, you have to know what you are getting when you go. The meal is going to take a pretty long time (at least 2 and half hours for us) and since it is Byob, you need to plan accordingly (we did not and wiped out our beer supply during the appetizers; if there was a liquor store nearby we couldn't find it). They also served us water in bottles, which seemed a little weird and made you hesitant to ask for more. But the very casual vibe makes it feel like you are eating in someone's home and it is a unique gem in the city.
  • Post #29 - May 25th, 2016, 12:44 pm
    Post #29 - May 25th, 2016, 12:44 pm Post #29 - May 25th, 2016, 12:44 pm
    I see this became a GNR. Recently my wife and I tried to go here for lunch and clearly checked that it was normal operating hours. After a very long ride on the red line we arrived only to see it was closed. Supremely disappointing because after thoroughly enjoying Yassa we wanted some more of that delicious Senegal cuisine.

    I wont try to hold it against the restaurant. I guess the moral of the story is to call ahead before long trips and take the nonchalant attitude described in this thread very seriously.
  • Post #30 - May 26th, 2016, 10:36 am
    Post #30 - May 26th, 2016, 10:36 am Post #30 - May 26th, 2016, 10:36 am
    Just checking, is Badou still BYOB? Posts as recent as last September indicate that it is, but Yelp says "beer and wine only." The restaurant's website only shows nonalcoholic beverages on the menu and no info re blob in the About section. I see that Indianbadger asked this same question in the GNR nomination thread in February, but no one gave an answer. (Yes, I can call. Just hoping someone already knows.)
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

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