Restaurant Review: A Bistro

April 6th, 2007

A Bistro lies stealthily just off Myrtle Avenue’s strip of discount furniture and 99 cent stores. On a recent visit, I almost walked right by it. If not for the small chalkboard offering Crispy Frog’s Leg, I would have missed it entirely.
The small restaurant, whose hard-to-google name is short for Abdoul’s Bistro, is the domain of Senegalese chef Abdoul Gueye. His food is the inevitable fusion of West African flavors with colonial European influences, and dishes like plantain gnocchi balance out both sides very well: The texture is unmistakably gnocchi, but with the sweet flavor of ripe plantain.
After the jump: frogs’ legs and wine pairings

The Crispy Frog’s Leg special was a starter portion, with three drumsticks, breaded and deep fried. Despite the look, beneath the crispy crust, the soft, meaty flesh tasted more like fish than chicken.
Gueye’s best known dish, the Senegalese Fried Chicken, is pan-fried and served with a spicy horseradish mustard sauce. Underneath it all is a small rice cake, moist and flavored with the juices of everything else on the plate, pulling the dish together perfectly.
The restaurant is small and unassuming, with a very spare decor inside and out. With space at a premium, it fills up very quickly and there is no waiting area. Or a bar, as A Bistro is BYOB. Luckily Thirst on Dekalb is just a couple blocks away. They know the drill and recommended some good bottles that went well with our meal. The service was mixed. The host doubles as the waiter, so it took a little while to get his attention. Yet, even with a full house and a one-man kitchen, our party of 6 was served very quickly.
Its size and location make A Bistro a bit of a challenge to get to, but the rewards are well worth it.
154 Carlton Ave. (between Myrtle & Willoughby Ave), Fort Greene; (718) 855-9455
-clay williams
Photo by ultraclay!

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