Brooklyn may be most frequently associated with farm-to-table restaurants, reclaimed wood and dangling Edison light bulbs nowadays, but if you ask us, the dining scene will always be best characterized by its unprecedented array of multicultural eateries. And from May 31st-June 14th, residents will have the opportunity to get better acquainted with the borough’s sizable selection of African-inspired spots, as part of the third annual New York African Restaurant Week (special 3-course meals sell for only $28.95!). So take a break from bespoke cocktails and ramps fashioned into fussy small plates, and explore Ethiopian fare at Fort Greene’s Bati, Senegalese cuisine at Bed-Stuy’s Jollof, and Nigerian cooking at Vinegar Hill’s Amarachi Prime instead.
La Caye: For a truly authentic taste of Haiti, try La Caye’s traditional Soup Joumou—a thick squash potage eaten to celebrate Haitian independence—or the popular Lanbi Boukannen, grilled conch served with a spicy mango sauce.
35 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
Bati: Both vegans and wheat-free diners will find plenty to love at Bati, now that they offer gluten-free injera alongside a wide range of vegetarian options. But it would be a shame to miss out on the Ethiopian national dish of Doro Wett, a slow cooked, clove and berbere-scented chicken stew, topped with a hard boiled egg.
747 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
Amarachi Prime: Thought Vinegar Hill House was the only restaurant of note in the cobblestoned, out-of-the-way Brooklyn nabe? Check out the Nigerian offerings at Amarachi, including Eba, Egusi and Red Stew (featuring ground cassava root, crushed melon seeds, crayfish and spinach), Moi Moi (a steamed bean pudding, wrapped in banana leaves), and Suya, skewered, grilled lengths of beef, in a spicy house rub.
189 Bridge Street, Vinegar Hill
Jollof Restaurant: Jollof’s menu is fully rooted in Senegal; try the national dish of Tiebuu Jeun (baked fish with vegetables and rice), Mafe Yaap (lamb and okra in peanut butter sauce), and Thiakry, a traditional dessert of couscous, thickened with yogurt, sour cream and raisins.
1168 Bedford Avenue, Bed Stuy
Madiba: This sunny South African staple is well known for its Durban Bunny Chow, a hollowed out bread bowl filled with curried stews, made with lamb, seafood, chicken or veggies.
195 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene
Kombit Bar: It’s hard to stand out when Franny’s is your nearby neighbor, which might be why Kombit has misguidedly padded its menu with calamari and mozzarella sticks. Ignore those odd Italian-American flourishes, and zero in on solid Haitian offerings, such as Akra (grated and fried taro root), Legume San Viand (a stew of cabbage, chayote and lima beans), and Pwason Gwo Sel, whole red snapper steamed with sea salt and sweet peppers.
279 Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope
Bunna Café: Serving exclusively vegetarian Ethiopian fare, Bunna made the successful transition from sometime pop-up into brick-and-mortar Bushwick institution, serving vividly colored and highly economical plates of Gomen (steamed kale), Misir Wot (red lentils), and Yater Kik Alicha, yellow split peas simmered with ginger, turmeric and herbs.
1084 Flushing Avenue, Bushwick
Cafe Rue Dix: This stylish Crown Heights café and bar serves French Senegalese food, such as Fataya (spicy beef empanadas with hot sauce), Yassa Guninar (stewed chicken and onion confit over couscous), and Dibi Senegal, grilled lamb chops and plantains.
1451 Bedford Avenue, Crown Heights
For more info on New York African Restaurant Week, visit: nyarw.com