"J" is for Jacob, the Senegalese owner of two soul food and salad bars. The awning of his latest enterprise proclaims "fine African & French cuisine," served a la carte in comparatively polished premises and not from a buffet, though a full printed menu is still to come.
Borokhe (baw-Row-hey, $10), one of three entrees on offer during a recent lunch, is a sauce feuille, a general name for leaf-based stews prepared in many West African countries. This recipe called for spinach and lamb, a little fish and peanut — though not so much peanut as you'd find in a mafe, also called sauce arichide or even "peanut butter stew" — and a generous dose of palm oil.
The other entrees available that afternoon included thiebou djeun, Senegal's famous fish-and-vegetable platter. To be precise, thiebou djeun rouge, flavored with tomato, though thiebou djeun blanc is prepared as well. In common with another restaurant that serves both versions, lunchtime entrees are offered in rotation; the red and the white never appear on the same day.
J. Restaurant Chez Asta
2479 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (132nd-133rd Sts.), Manhattan