There is a definite movement in Bed-Stuy. Bed-Stuy restaurateurs and their chefs are giving long time and newer residents many good reasons to eat out in Bed-Stuy and not float away to Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene or to venture across the East River. This movement challenges the taste buds and the accepted eating norms within this community and is most strikingly marked by the kind of care of presentation, quality of service, tastiness, but not all the prices usually associated with the “better” restaurants in downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Le Toukouleur is located at the corner of Bedford and Quincy Avenues (1116 Bedford Ave.) I asked Jeannette what “Le Toukouleur” meant. Somehow my rusty French wasn’t helping me decipher the word. Jeannette is from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and she explained that when the French colonized her country, they encountered a group of African people who were of many different hues. Some of these Africans had dark skin, some had fair skin and many were shades that fell somewhere in-between. The French noted this and began to call these people “all colors” or in French, “toutes couleurs”. Le Toukouleur, then refers to this African group.
It is evident that Jeannette and her husband have taken much care and invested quite a bit of money into this dining venue. From the outside, this corner anchor shows floor to high-ceiling plate glass windows, and mini pine trees bracketing the Bedford side frontage.
Entering the restaurant reveals a spacious dining area stretching out to a stool-bar, L-shaped countertop which frames the open kitchen. The walls are covered with artwork whose shape and colors combine with the candles on black lacquered tables to provide a comfortable inviting setting for dining and conversation.
And now a sampling of the cuisine. I started off with the butternut squash soup, and I was immediately pleased. The soup had just the right consistency, ultra creamy, and it was full of flavor.
After the appetizer and in keeping with the liquid motif, I had mafÃ© avec riz et haricot verts. MafÃ© is a traditional Wolof dish, and the version that I had was vegetarian. It is like a stew in which peanut, tomato and spices mix together into a mouthwatering combo. The peanut flavor in Le Toukouleur’s mafÃ© was strong–just the way I like it.
My dessert was a chocolate brownie topped with pistachio ice cream. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I could’ve eaten 27 of these.
Zengine started with Zonzon, a shrimp and avocado dish. Very tasty, according to Zengine.
For the main entree, Zengine had the Tieboujeun, stuffed fish with vegetables and Sengalese style rice. The fish was freshly filleted. Very enjoyable.
For dessert, the banana creme brulee. Zengine’s first taste of banana creme brulee was not disappointing!
Factoidjoe started with the Dakar Nice salad, a mix of greens, diced chicken, olive nicoise and tomatoes. Factoidjoe considered it too pretty to eat, but eat he did!
For the main course, Factoidjoe selected the Steak TK, served with fried casava. As a cook himself, Factoidjoe found the combination of spices to be very pleasing.
And for dessert, the Metisse, or chocolate mousse. Superb!
Le Toukouleur presents as a high-end French restaurant with Senegalese flavoring and Caribbean and American accents. Chef Abdhul CissÃ©, owner Jeannette Diop and sous-chef Paul Aka were very gracious, and, as we learned, justifiably bold, in allowing the three of us to choose any appetizers, entrÃ©es or desserts from the menu. Whether identified as French-African or African-French, all the selections proved enjoyable.
Chef Abdhul CissÃ©, owner Jeannette Diop and sous-chef Paul Aka.
Live Jazz at Le Toukouleur
Friday, March 30th
Maitre Diallo will perform!
Brunch every Sunday is Prix Fixe at $9.95!ï¿½ A La Carte also available!