Get a Flavorful Taste of West Africa at New York City’s Ponty Bistro

Sure New York City is known for staples like pizza ― but what the exotic cuisines ― like Senegalese fare?

Ponty Bistro

The popular crispy tuna starter comes with a pickled soy ginger vinaigrette and wasabi oil.

If you don’t know about Ponty Bistro, now’s the time to check it out.

Chefs and cousins Elhadji and Ali Cisse bring together West African, French, and Mediterranean flavors to create a cuisine that highlights their Senegalese heritage. Combine that with modern culinary practices, which they learned from upscale kitchens throughout the city, and there you have something a lot more interesting than your average American fare.

Their signature starters include crispy tuna with a pickled soy ginger vinaigrette and wasabi oil; fish fataya, which are Senegalese empanadas with North African spices sauce and tartar sauce; as well as the always reliable truffle mac and cheese. I opted for the grilled octopus, which was tender and paired with an indulgent green risotto with shaved Parmesan and a truffle glaze.

The entrées are generously portioned, rich, and complex in flavor. I ordered the le poulet yassa, a traditional chicken dish from Senegal that incorporates onions, olives, lemon, and spices in a marinade, allowing the chicken to be both tenderized and infused with flavor. I could have eaten another plate of this.

My dinner buddy for the night was none other than The Daily Meal’s New York City editor, Helaina Hovitz, who helped make some crucial ordering decisions. We ultimately chose the carré d'agneau, which was absolutely delicious. As one of my favorite cuts of lamb, this roasted, herb-crusted rack of lamb, served with potato gratin, baby spinach, and rosemary lamb au jus, hit all the taste points.

We also decided to order the lobster BLT, which was a brioche roll piled high with fresh lobster, crispy bacon, and a basil pesto aïoli, also served with garlic fries. Bacon is the best; lobster is the best. Put them together, and you get an absurdly fantastic sandwich.

Next time you don’t know what or where to eat, instead of spending an hour on Seamless or Yelp, take a chance on Ponty Bistro; you’ll be glad you did! With locations in Gramercy Park and Harlem, this restaurant hopes to enlighten New Yorkers to a new fusion cuisine, one inspired by the culture and food of both Senegal and France.

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