If you ever get the chance to stop by at La Savane, which is an African Restaurant in Harlem, you will not forget it. I personally had the privilege of sitting down with Chef Dembele, who creates the most amazing dishes there. He presented to me a wonderful spread of a full course meal which consisted of the following:
- Couscous which came with vegetables mixed inside
- Lamb Small Cut, served with sauteed onions
- Fried Yams (that came straight from Africa)
- Cassava Attieke
- Grilled Fish, served with onion sauce
- Grilled Chicken
Each dish was infused with many flavors and ingredients including white pepper and ginger powder for an added kick. The dishes were the perfect balance of savory meats mixed in with healthy sides, a truly proportionate meal.
His legacy started when Dembele was a child in the Ivory Coast his mother inspired him to cook, where he spent many days in the kitchen learning the craft. Continuing the tradition, he brings his children here after school to continue what his mother started years ago. In the present, La Savane is somewhere that people from “all cultures” come from to enjoy the beautiful setting and generous amounts of food on their plate. “It’s for African people to find their food,” the chef says, noting that it is important for African people to be able to share their food in a community and embrace others to enjoy it as well. “Everywhere you look around here, there are good things.” Already one year into African Restaurant Week, Dembele is proud to continue participating for a second year in a row. “It’s great for the community. Positivity is important for the representation of the culture.” And from there, the possibilities are endless, even with the idea of expanding out to creating a chain of restaurants in the future. With food this good, I’m sure that it will be a hit wherever the location is.
By Carrie Rose