African Restauranteurs Add to Brooklyn Flavor

February 21, 2011  |  

(New York Daily News) — Inside a tiny storefront off Brooklyn’s busy Myrtle Ave., Abdoul Gueye creates culinary works of art like braised lamb shanks cooked for hours in West African peanut-and-palm sauce.  A few brownstone-lined blocks away, Lookman Mashood boasts of the cooked snails that lure diners from every boroughto Buka, which means “side of the road” in his Nigerian language.

Around the corner, Pierre (Chef Pierre) Thiam at Grand Dakar says the ingredients at his Senegalese-inspired restaurant come from as far away as Vietnam and South Carolina.  In the past decade, the culturally diverse Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have seen an exploding kaleidoscope of African cuisine. At least a dozen African restaurants have opened in the area, presenting cooking traditions from one end of the continent to the other and beyond.  “There’s really no place in the world that’s as much of a melting pot as Brooklyn,” says Thiam, 45. “People come from Africa or Russia or the Caribbean and they all bring their idea of food with them. They are not afraid to experiment, which makes it perfect for a place like mine.

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