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Nov 9, 2006 03:20 PM

La Marmite in Harlem

Has anybody tried this place? I've passed by it a few times, wondering about it. Anything that I should try specifically, being that it would be my first time? What kind of food do they have?



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  1. I've never eaten there but I've passed it several times... lately, on my way to eat at Florence's. I believe they serve Senegalese food for lunch and add a few French-influenced specials in the evening. I do want to try it. There are posters on this board who say it is wonderful.

    1. I've seen several posts about it. Try doing a quick search and you should get some fairly recent feedback. Personally, never tried it but a friend who did wasn't especially impressed.

      1. the lamb is great, slathered with a spicy onion sauce. two huge lamb shanks for $12 (served with a lifetime supply of rice or attieke or other accompaniment choices). the white meat chicken is pretty good (slathered with the same sauce), and better than the somewhat scrawny half chicken option. the menu is pretty small, and they don't necessarily have everything on it at all times. it's got about zero atmosphere, but appears pretty popular with cab drivers.

        La Marmite
        2264 Frederick Douglass Avenue (at 121st St)

        1. The Cheb Jeune, a Senegalese staple - which R. Sietsema aptly describes as an "African fish paella", is the best I've tasted in NYC (have also tried this dish at Africa Kine and Baobab amongst other places). Their fish serving, is more generous and tender than at other places. This dish is a heaping plate of goodness - the fish, the grain, along with huge chunks of carrot and potato(?), are piled high, with a unique green hot sauce off to the side, and slathered with a sheen of palm oil - a signature element of the recipe. The portion is big enough for two.

          I have also heard great things about the Mafe - lamb or beef cooked in peanut butter sauce - but have yet to try it.

          This is one of my favorite restaurants. It is small, friendly, laid back and unpretensious. Eat hearty, and enjoy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Polecat

            I second Polecat on all counts. And while there's not much in decoration they make up for it in friendliness (if you throw around your meager French) and bouncin' African tunes (though it can also be that of American Idol contestants on TV.)

            1. re: Spoony Bard

              I've only had dinner there. Like many of the West African places, the dinner menu is mostly grilled meats, and the lunch menu has the sauces (mafe, feuilles). The thieboudienne at dinner is a good idea -- as said, it really is a huge, fresh portion of fish and vegetables, although I don't recall the spices as being as integrated into the rice as I expected, but that's not a big deal unless you are going there with a very specific image of this dish in mind. I have found the chicken to be dry and dull, but the sauces were very good. I'm not hugely inspired to head back at dinner, but I very much want to go at lunch. Friendly people.

              1. re: mary shaposhnik

                Definitely lunch. I'm surprised they even had the theibou djenne for dinner- in my experience they run out in the afternoon.

          2. Another item on my to-do list.