- $16 for $25 worth of Senegalese dinner cuisine for two or more
Badou Senegalese Cuisine
Three forces influenced the culinary tastes of a young Badara "Badou" Diakhate as he grew up in Dakar—his mother, the countryside, and a pack of hyenas. He got his first taste of kitchen life at his mother's side, but it was a trip to his grandparents' country home that really cemented his love of cooking. There, his grandmother presented him with a choice: stay home and help with the cooking, or brave hyena country to work in the fields with the rest of the men. He might have faced some mockery for his decision, but one meal was all it took to convince his family that he belonged behind the ladle.
When Diakhate's journey brought him to the United States in 1989, his traditional Senegalese cuisine got a dose of Southern influence, as well. He cooks with an improvisational style that leads him to such inventions as the Badou Soul Food Delight, a popular meal combining collard greens and smoked turkey. Other items on the menu include West African classics such as the thiou curry chicken and the ndamme, a vegetarian entree made with black-eyed peas and an onion-garlic sauce.
Even though Badou has been a Rogers Park fixture for several years, first-time diners can still have some difficulty navigating this unusual menu. That's why Mike Sula, the food critic for the Chicago Reader, suggests that folks trust Diakhate with their dining experience, saying "the best way to approach this little spot is to call ahead and put yourself in the chef's hands."