I’d just finished a late afternoon brunch at Chavela’s (an authentic Mexican Crown Heights eatery known for their inexpensive, colorful, and flavorful brunch– get a glass of guava juice with whatever your order, trust me) with my cousin (a then former brand new Brooklyn transplant) when he suggested that we keep the the party going and visit a spot near his place that he’d frequented for drinks. Why not? He summoned an uber and to my surprise we were dropped off on the corner of Bedford Avenue & Park Place – directly ifo a restaurant I’d been meaning to visit for quite some time.
My cousin held the door open for me to enter. I stood in the vestibule for a quick second before using my hands to part the weighted mud-cloth entry curtain to actually make my way inside. I walked in and immediately I knew that this was a place that I’d be visiting again…and again – wow. I took in the authentically subtle décor like a kid in a candy store as afrobeats played in the background. I was greeted by cowrie shell covered overhead ambient lighting, African masks hung over the fully stocked mahogany wood bar, additional mud-cloth curtains adorning the floor to ceiling windows, and a huge floor-to-ceiling pewter metal wall. The space wasn’t the largest (I counted roughly 10 – 12 wooden tables with paired seating) and about 10 bar stools, but I found it to be the perfect size. We pulled two leather & studded topped bar stools back and took a seat where we were greeted by the friendly bartender. For the duration of our stay we enjoyed fresh fried calamari (with a spicy guacamole sauce) and unique cocktails – that was two years ago.
Cafe Rue Dix, https://www.caferuedix.com/ , a French-Senegalese restaurant with authentic fare located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, has easily become one of my favorite restaurants for everything; first dates (I’ve had about two or three here – the staff probably thinks I’m a heaux), birthday celebrations, date night, brunch, or dinner with girlfriends. When asked by a friend where I wanted to celebrate the launch of my blog of course I suggested Cafe Rue Dix.
I knew exactly what I wanted – one of the best tuna tartares that I’ve ever had in my life and my go to cocktail, the Jardin de Senegal. Think sushi grade tuna on a bed of perfectly seasoned avocado paired with a cocktail that makes you close your eyes at first sip and get lost in the ingredients – yeah, it’s that good. My dining companion opted for the calamari (that I wholeheartedly cosign) and the Jalapeno Margarita -the perfect balance of tequila and jalapeno kick that he mentioned could’ve used a blended salted/paprika or cajun rim, but still enjoyed nonetheless.
Drinks: Jardin de Senegal – Hibiscus, White Rum, Fleur de Orange, Topped with Fresh Mint Garnish & Jalapeno Margarita – Tequila, Triple Sec, Lime Juice, Crushed Jalapenos, Topped with a Fresh Lime Wedge
First Course: Tuna Tartare – Yellow Fin Tuna w/ Crushed Avocado served w/ Maison Chips
I decided to try something that I’d never tried before, because why not? I had a hankering for fish so I opted for the restaurant’s top seller, the Thiebou Jen (the National Plate of Senegal).
Second Course: Thiebou Jen, National Plate of Senegal – Stewed Fish & Vegetables (Carrots and Cabbage) Over Rice
When this dish was placed ifo by the waiter I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish it all in one sitting because the portion was large AF. However, I tried to. I have no clue what kind of fish this was, but it is now my favorite. The sauce that it was immersed in made me wish I were small enough to swim in it and drown. The perfect medley of spice and flavor – not too spicy and far from bland. It was refreshing to know that the chef (of which Cafe Rue Dix employs two – Fati (a Senegalese woman) and Chris (Black American) didn’t dumb down their seasoning to appease the palates of neighborhood hipsters. These chefs cook authentically and with love – and it shows in their meals.
Since I was unable to finish my dish I had plenty of room for dessert. My friend and I were on the fence between the crème brulee and the bread pudding so we ordered both. The crème brulee arrived first, so we ate that first. Meh, it was far from the best that I’d had so after three spoons I chose to wait for the dessert that I’d chosen…
Third Course: Bread Pudding w/ Espresso Whipped Cream & Fresh Berries
Bruh, it was worth the wait! I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth so this hit the spot. The bread used was a flaky, buttery croissant and it was fucking incredible. The ultra-light whipped espresso whipped cream had just the right amount of coffee notes and the fresh strawberries and powdered sugar finished it off perfectly.
Knowing me, I’ll be back in Cafe Rue Dix within the next few weeks feasting on more tuna tartare and pretty much anything on the menu because everything that I’ve ever consumed here has been delicious.
For the coffee/tea and pastry lovers, they have an entire section of fresh delicate pastries for your enjoyment as well as an impressive tea & coffee bar. I don’t have a rating system (yet), so for now I will leave you with this – I’m extremely picky with what I consume. I pay attention to presentation and to each and every layer of flavor when I dine out and Cafe Rue Dix gets it right every single time. Each dish is aesthetically pleasing and each drink and meal is prepared with a meticulous eye and hand. Trust me, you will enjoy your dining experience here if you have taste buds and appreciate fine cuisine.
UIB Eats Corner
Top Sellers on the Menu: Thiebou Jen, Fataya (spicy (beef or veggie) empanadas served w/ house-made Senegalese hot sauce), and Bread Pudding.
Bartender’s Best: Jardin de Senegal
UIB Rec’d Dishes & Drink: EVERYTHING. But since you may not be as gluttonous as I am I recommend the Tuna Tartare, Calamari, Thiebou Jen, Bread Pudding, and the Jardin de Senegal.
***I also HIGHLY recommend Pre-Fixe Wednesdays – Enjoy a three-course menu for $29.***
Be sure to make reservations ahead of time if you plan on visiting during peak time, it gets packed!