Breakfast service begins at 4:00, but the cabbies who call on New Ivoire in the early morning hours often can't linger. Many take a sandwich to go; the most fortifying might be this footlong sandwich rognon ($6), laden with onion, tomato, and the namesake sauteed beef kidneys. A more elaborate option adds sweet peas to temper the relentlessly earthy flavor of the offal. It wasn't available on my most recent visit, but if kidneys throw you for a loop, a simple chopped-beef sandwich is also on offer.
Previously: A bowl of sauce feuille patate (currently $11), sweet-potato-leaf stew heavy with beef and served with a plate of white rice, is typical fare at an Ivoirian sit-down lunch. (You certainly won't be dashing out afterward, either.) At the time, several years ago, a vibrating massage chair held pride of place at one end of the dining room, ready to accommodate weary cab drivers. During the first half of that afternoon's football match, which I watched with a dozen Ivoirians while digging into my stew, the chair sat silent and still under the flatscreen — but then, I left before the late-afternoon shift change. The massage chair has since been retired.
New Ivoire Restaurant
76 East 119th St. (Park-Madison Aves.), Manhattan