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Chef Serigne Mbaye Makes Triumphant Return to New Orleans With Senegalese Pop-Up

The Eater Young Gun (‘18) says he’s returned to New Orleans “to stay”

Serigne Mbaye, now back in New Orleans, cooks in Barcelona last year
Sam Zucker

Serigne Mbaye, an acclaimed young chef who once cooked at Commander’s Palace before moving on to two Michelin-starred restaurants, has returned to New Orleans with a contemporary Senegalese pop-up called Dakar. Jyl Benson at My New Orleans reports the pop-up in Bywater takes over the former space of Polly’s Bywater Cafe (3325 St. Claude Avenue).

The New York-born, Senegalese-American chef (and Eater Young Gun ‘18) got his start in New Orleans as a line cook at Commander’s, quickly being promoted to sous chef. From there, he landed in the kitchen at Cafe Adelaide (also formerly part of the Commander’s Family of Restaurants) after which he left the city for a stint at three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. After that was New York, where he worked at two-Michelin-starred restaurant L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Throughout it all, he spent time visiting New Orleans, Paris, and Dakar.

Mbaye says he’s back “to stay” in New Orleans; “a city he vows he loves above all others.”

The menu at Dakar currently includes fried plantains; Senegalese egg rolls with braised chicken and pickled vegetables; fonio salad with West African millet, Creole tomato, avocado, and pineapple; and Thieboudienne, the national dish of Senegal. Mbaye is also making two non-alcoholic drinks, Bissap (cold hibiscus tea) and ginger beer.

Dakar is currently open for pickup Thursday and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.; pre-orders required by phone or online. Mbaye said he plans to add table service when it makes sense.

For a full profile on Mbaye, check out Eater’s Young Gun (‘18) report here.

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