Any Taxi Brousse updates?
The East Bay Express reviewed it this week with a one-week stand in as a food reviewer to fill the gap between Johathan Kauffman who left for the Seattle Weekly and his replacement, who IMO, is one of the worst food critics I have ever read.
Here's the review
IMO it was a little early for a professional review of Taxi Brousse. Acutally the stand-in did a nice job, describing the ginger drink he wrote ...
"Most intriguing, however, was the ginger, which went down like a refreshing lemonade that returned to nip at our throat several seconds later"
It sounds like this place is dying for lack of business. Have any hounds been there recently? Really give it a try. These people are not being smart about promoting their place.
They discontinued lunch for lack of business ... BUT .. they were open and closed on such an irregular basis that even I gave up on planning a lunch there.
From my visits, it is worth the effort of stopping by. Here's some previous Chowhound reports. I don't feel like I can report about the place anymore. From my understanding they saw my Chowhound report and ... since I was probably the only person in there the first week, they probably know it was me. I don't write about places that know I post on Chowhound. Just a personal thing ... I eat there again, I just don't post.
Anyway here's some previous Chowhound reports. Hope there will be more.
re: Robert Lauriston
Drinks or no drinks, they are not doing a thing to let people know they are open. While the EBE lets people know the place exists, it hardly did anything to draw people there.
I've driven by nights, knew they were open, but it still looked like they were closed. Again, it is too bad because it is something different, has tasty food and could really be a pleasant place on a hot night having drinks and food on that little patio. I hope they do something to make people aware it is there.
I went last weekend. It was open and the food and hospitality were great. Had a nine-year-old with us (not my idea) and they made yucca fries for her-not on the menu. But we didn't let her get many.
Brought the leftovers home for my husband, who loved them. (Not the yucca fries. Cold fried yucca=cardboard.)
Just back from dessert at Bistro Liason...
I liked everything, especially the chicken yasse (which has a mustard based sauce) and the chicken mafe, with a peanut-based but not peanutty flavor. (Every main dish comes with couscous or rice and a titch bit of salad greens.) We had both over chicken because of my friend's preference. And the yucca fries. They should give up and just put them on the menu.
Less successful but still flavorful was the shrimp tchou, with a tomato onion and garlic sauce. There just weren't enough/big enough shrimp to let you know what you were eating in the sauce. The lamb dibi was good, spicy with flecks of hot pepper. Thicker than shwerma. Kind of like thin filets.
So we tried a version of every main dish on the menu. The plantains are good but they're starchy, not sweet at all like at Tropix, where they're just about caramelized and pretty damn yum.
Went here on Friday for an early dinner with friends from Cameroon and Liberia (okay not Senegal, where most of the dishes are from, but they more familiar with the regional cuisine than I). Both the food and the friendly, thoughtful service will have me coming back.
We ordered the plantains and the pastilles to start. On my night, the plantains were done nice and dark, so you could nibble around the edges to get those nice bits of chewy carmel, my favorite part. It came with a runny dipping sauce; I'm not sure what was in it, but it seemed to have the taste of sweetened condensed milk. The combination sounds overly sweet but it really worked.
The pastilles are fried dumplings (like flat empanadas) filled with meat or veggies, and topped with a spicy sauce featuring large chunks of tomato. We had the vegetarian version with gombo saff (spinach and okra stew), but I wish it could have been filled a bit more so you could taste the gombo saff better. It might be a lot to ask; since gombo saff is quite runny, I imagine it would be a challenge to get much of it into a dumpling!
For dinner, my friend ordered the chicken yassa with rice; it was garnished with onion and covered with a mustardy sauce. The sauce was great, but unfortunately the leg quarter seemed to be a bit overdone, which was a shame. The rice came as two scoops of plain white rice; a little more of the yassa gravy could have been added to enjoy with the rice.
My Liberian friend ordered the fish tchou, a fillet of white fish (tilapia?) with an smooth tomato, red pepper and garlic sauce. It was good, but the least impressive dish of the evening. The hit, in my opinion, was the daily special -- broken rice and stewed codfish. The rice was savory, and a little sticky, stained red with what I think might have been palm oil. The fish, which was bathed in a spicy and salty stew, was served on the bone. Although there was actually very little meat in my portion, we all know that the tastiest part of the fish is the stuff right by bones, and I was content to just suck the gravy and meat off the bones and call it the best dish of the evening.
We were so stuffed we had no room for dessert; they had a couple of interesting sounding options, including a Senegalese yogurt with raisins, nutmeg and couscous. I should add that the ginger and hibiscus juices were wonderful. The hibiscus juice was darker and stronger than what you might find at a Mexican restaurant. And the ginger one was cut with pineapple juice, a nice balance of sweet and hot.