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Aug 30, 2007 11:24 AM

Taxi Brousse (Senegalese in Albany, CA) Review

Two nights ago I went out to Taxi Brousse along with some family—party of 7—around 9pm. The place was nearly deserted, which was a shame because the food turned out to be great and even more so the ambiance.

We ordered two appetizers:

1. "Aloko" are fried plantains with a tamarind dipping sauce on the side. The plantains were crispy on the outside and pleasantly "gooshy" on the inside. The sauce nicely balanced-out the rich fruit.

2. "Pastelles" are basically empanadas. We had ours with a beef filling which seemed to be spiced with maybe red pepper and garlic. My wife loved them so much that she wished we ordered more.

Half of us ordered different forms of Dibi, which involves a meat with onions. Most of us had chicken, though one of us had lamb. My chicken was very good, with a blackened, spicy skin. It seems to have been seared in a pan. This is the kind of chicken with skin and bones, so if you're into the boneless only (like my wife is), then you may want to pass. I found it to be delicious, with a bite that came both from spiciness and maybe some acidity. The lamb was gobbled-up and I didn't get any, but it was supposedly very good as well. All the Dibis also come with a side salad (good, but slightly over-dressed) and a very generous helping of plantains (yum!).

The other dish on my side of the table was ordered by my sister-in-law: Tchou. It's onions, tomatoes, garlic, and and red pepper with a meat. She asked for tofu, which wasn't an option for that item, but they very happily accommodated her. She enjoyed it.

All of the main dishes come with rice or couscous. The rice is of the sticky variety and is plain, but very good. The couscous was cooked with raisins and possibly some spices (I mainly just ate my rice).

We all had some of their juices. The hibiscus tastes like a hibiscusy pomegranate juice. The tamarind is, tastes like tamarind. The ginger juice is good and VERY gingery.

The atmosphere at Taxi Brouse is cozy and exotic without being cheesy or over-the-top. All around the edges are benches with pillows. The tables are up against them with chairs along the outside. The ceiling is covered with straw mats. There is some outside seating with a few tables as well. A screen plays Senegalese concerts, dancing, and music videos. The waiter was very nice and took care of all our needs and the owner went WAY out of his way to make sure we were welcomed and taken care of. It felt as if we were taken into his home and fed home food.

I very much recommend Taxi Brousse and will be going back!

Taxi Brousse
1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

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  1. Thanks for keeping this great place in Chowhound radar.

    I always keep forgetting to stop by there and I wanted to because they now have a special added to the menu.

    The way to keep a place like this going is to report, and if possible, report frequently. Sometimes people don't bother because someone else already reported. However, out of site, out of mind ... and out of business sometime.

    There are so many places I finally tried because people talked it up so much .

    They seem to have made themselves more visible and they have lots of parking so they should be more popular because the food is so good.

    Taxi Brousse
    1101 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

    1. I also had dinner here last month. Pastelles were very tasty; we had beef and vegetarian, I enjoyed both especially with the accompanying spicy tomato sauce.

      I had the ginger drink, which was very good. I didn't think it has anything but sugar and ginger, but it seemed almost fruity.

      3 of us had dibi variants, 1 tchou. My lamb dibi was tasty, with the vinegary cooked onion mixture going nicely with the seasoned meat.

      My only complaint would be that at the price point, I would like slightly larger portions. However, I left satisfied.

      Service was amiable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: twocents

        I slightly agree about the prices, though none of us left hungry. I think we just come to expect heaping plates in America.

      2. Closed as of a drive by on 5/28/2008. Windows papered over, sign down.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Scrapironchef

          Really, really ... really sad.

          This was truly a situation of a restaurant being grossly mismanaged. The food was good. The service was pleasant. However, the hours were always in flux. They didn't call attention to themselves.

          Sad, sad, sad.

          1. re: rworange

            Driving by, the place always looked closed, even when it was open.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I drive by once or twice a week in the early to late afternoon, I never could figure out when it was open. Occasionally the door would be open, but beyond that who could tell. RW is right on this one, it was a suicide.

              1. re: Scrapironchef

                The intermittent attempts at live entertainment didn't help either. We probably would have eaten there more often if we hadn't worried about what might be assaulting our eardrums.

                Kind of an odd location, too. I'd be willing to bet that the same operation in a location more people associate with food would do a lot better.

                1. re: Solop

                  Looks like a kebab place is going in this spot. Since the KFC there closed, nothing else has lasted long. I wish them luck.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    I think the Kebab House has opened. Has anyone ventured in? I suppose I will since I feel sympathetic to all those new restaurants which have recently opened on San Pablo Avenue.

                    1. re: bunnysitter

                      Picked up a menu today. It looks good. It is a halal restaurant.