By Anika Hazlewood
Situated on a corner of a moderately traveled block of residential Crown Heights, Cafe Rue Dix is neat– that is to say, cute. From the door, the drama of the entrance’s long and heavy drapes and concomitant African rhythm transported me from “biting-cold Brooklyn” to (what I imagine to be) “sultry Senegal.”
The music was intoxicating and the smell of onions and spice mated harmoniously with the warm, orange glow of the votive candles scattered about. At the helm of the space was a view of the kitchen. Atop the food prep area, a surprising, wooden-shuttered, cutout window to what I surmise is an office. Whatever its function, overlooking the space, it added an additional charm to the already homely vibe of the atmosphere.
My first impression? Appetent anticipation. Yayy! My appetite roused, I chose a bar seat with a covetable vantage point of the dining room and bar. Perusing the 30+ item menu, I settled upon the Tuna Tartare with crushed avocado and maison chips as an appetizer ($14) and the traditional “favorite of the house,” the Dibi Senegal (Grilled lamb chops with onion confit and sweet plantains, offered with a choice of cous cous or rice $19). Venturing for the complete Senegalese immersion, I went with the cous cous.
Beginning with my appetizer, the tartare was amazingly fresh and flavorful! The lamb boasting just a bit of char; was succulent, partially submerged in a colorful confit of onions. The fried plantains, as sweet as they promise, perfectly balanced the acidity of the confit.The in-house baked Apple Tart with a side of vanilla gelato ($9) concluded my dinner. I pause for reflection. The best way to describe my meal is to say that I felt like a Senegalese person prepared it! Well done, Cafe Rue Dix! Whether that was true or false is missing the point: I was (am) suitably convinced!
Cafe Rue Dix opens at 9:00am daily and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Would I travel more than three train stops away for the aforementioned experience? In truth, I’m not sure. But I can say with certainty, that if I lived within a ten block radius of 1451 Bedford Avenue @ Park Place, Cafe Rue Dix would be on regular rotation in my dining playlist.
This small, family-owned cafe conveys Senegalese savior-faire. Adapting to its Crown Heights neighborhood-y environment, I even forgive the placement of the flat screen television perched above the corner of the bar. If you live in the neighborhood, I would recommend a visit.