>> New Ivoire Restaurant | Eat the World NYC

13 May 2010

New Ivoire Restaurant


A line of taxi cabs forms a fortress in front of New Ivoire, a line that stretches down the block and gets even larger when day turns to night and midnight hungers need to be fixed. This 24-hour joint is obviously popular with the West African cab drivers in the city, and I would definitely rather see them sitting here having friendly conversations rather than avoiding them on my bike.

They sat around large tables alternating their attention between the food, the rambunctious conversations, and the soccer channel on the television. The owner would sit with them at times, giving the place a very friendly local feel. As newcomers we did not stand out at all though, even if my spotty French was not quite enough at times to describe what I wanted.

At lunch, the restaurant has a rotating menu of three or more items, different on each day. The following two items were available on Mondays. The sauce arachide ($10, below) was very similar to other West African mafes, but had a more subtle approach to its peanut sauce, allowing other flavors to surface and creating a splendid soup for its beef. Served with a heaping plate of rice, the dish is definitely more than necessary for lunch.

Another choice for the sides was a plate of yuca that appeared in couscous form. The owner recommended it with the second dish, the sauce Claire dindon ($10, below), and was spot on. It's a soup with turkey and tomato, but spiced with pepper and very oily. Both dishes brought back great West African memories with a small colorful pepper in the center.

I also grabbed what appeared to be a homemade lemonade ($2), and expected it to be infused with something sickeningly sweet like vanilla. What I found though was in addition to this insulting sweetness a strong burning ginger was in there, which I could not finish despite the great taste.

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