B&K French Cuisine Brings Paris to Harlem

The distance from Paris to Harlem is 5,823 km or 3,618 miles.  Benjamin Baccari Kebe, a Frenchman of Malian descent, is trying to bridge that gap at a tiny Harlem counter with a few metal stools.

Mr. Kebe trained at culinary school and at Paris restaurants.  His uncle convinced him in 2009 that Americans loved French food, and that the United States presented plenty of opportunity.  Mr. Kebe moved to New York and worked at Harlem neighborhood bistros.  Then last December he opened B&K French Cuisine with plans to make crepes, bake his own focaccia and serve classics like chicken forestiere.  His attention to detail may be found in the fact that he hand-cuts potatoes for French fries every morning.

The food is simple.  The menu is written on chalkboards hung from the wall, with sketches of the Eiffel Tower and a map of France.  Bissap can be found on the menu – an item from Mr. Kebe’s Malian heritage.  It is a mix between juice and tea, made of dried hibiscus soaked in boiling water, with a crush of mint.

The desserts are rich as they should be, including chocolate mousse, Nutella tiramisu and mascarpone in whipped cream.

Recommended dishes are chicken pesto panini, Dijon braised beef panini, and Londonian fish and chips.  Prices range up to $16.

B&K French Cuisine is located at 2167 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem.  The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday for late breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are not accepted.

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