Fatima’s fish.

The list, the list.  Sometimes I think Sietsema has paired two so vastly divergent entries consecutively that it’ll be a cold day in hell before the same person goes to both of them.  See, for example, the Nos. 27-28: Shake Shack and Fatima, the Guinean restaurant on Franklin Avenue in what I suppose is Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The weather forecast must be a little chilly down there today, because I’ve now been to both places – last night’s trip to Fatima taking care of the less-obvious choice.  And I will say that I enjoyed the food I had there, to a point.  Roughly the same price as a double shack burger at $6, Fatima whip you up as different a kind of feed from the Shack as exists in the world.

Entering what Mr. S. describes as a “pleasant café,” I was surprised to note its barren-ness.  Despite the threadbare nature of the place, it was busy enough – it reminded me of the Bangladeshi places on Macdonald Avenue in Kensington, which are generally packed full of men chowing down after work, and whose attention is generally occupied by the TV in the corner.  The programming differed, though – while the Bangladeshis offered news from home, the Guineans offered what looked to me to be French sitcoms and some kind of equivalent to “Candid Camera.”  There were also women around, unlike at the south Asian places – indeed, one was sporting a kind of traditional African dress that

The food was equally intriguing, but I wouldn’t call it amazing.  I walked to the back counter and asked for the chicken in palm oil – no dice.  I suppose a better option would have been to ask what was available that day, but I ended up with the proprietor-recommended hacked up fish parts in a red-brown sauce (it had a little kick) with the most enormous plate of rice I’ve ever seen – the same as everyone else in the restaurant, except that my rice was served on a plate instead of in a bowl.  The sauce was excellent and the rice was fine – I’m just not that wild about bone-in fish chopped into large chunks, though.  If I had managed to procure a different meat option, this would have been quite the gut bomb meal (I mean, seriously, that looked like a whole box of Uncle Ben’s).

I also sampled the unmarked drink in the refrigerator, which turned out to be a gingery mix ($2).  I brought it home to my ginger-fan roommate and stuck with the pitcher of water on my table – grab a cup from the counter after you order.

All in all, an interesting experience.  It’s not far from the botanical garden, so I can easily imagine returning on some sunny Saturday.  And that red-brown sauce requires further investigation – hopefully sans fish this time.

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