716 East 79th Street
The restaurant we visited when we first decided to start eating the World was Senegalese, so we have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Senegalese food. Of course, it does not hurt that it is extremely delicious! We had to travel quite a bit south to make our way to Yassa, and when we walked in we were greeted by some cool decor. There were murals on the walls and even a little store in the back selling Senegalese and Nigerian movies.
Yassa had an amazing selection of drinks for only 2 dollars apeice: we ended up choosing ginger and boabab drinks, other choices were tamarind and bissap (sorrel). The Ginger drink was super strong with an incredible fresh ground ginger flavor that was pretty spicy and refreshing. We also ordered some Baobab tea – a flavor wholly unknown to us. In fact, it is wholly unknown to the US, pretty much, since it was just approved by the FDA for consumption only recently. If we had to describe, we would say that baobab tasted unusually like hazelnut.
For our entrees we ordered Maffe ($11) and the Yassa Chicken ($11). The maffe, a classic Senegalese tomato and peanut butter stew of lamb with potatoes, carrots and yams, served with white rice. The flavor of the Maffe was rich and velvety and was a peanut butter lovers’ dream, which clearly pleased M. The lamb, which sometimes can get stringy, was moist and tender. The Yassa chicken came marinated in an onion and mustard sauce alongside white rice. The marinade was flavorful and there was a huge amount of on-the-bone chicken. Though we tried valiantly neither of us was able to finish more than half of our lunches.
We had heard that the service was a little bit slow, but it didn’t really bother us much. We were the only group in the place, and the servers were amazing attentive and they took very good care of us. The food at Yassa was amazing and we think they definitely deserve some more clientele.