Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

A friend of a relative recommended us to visit this place while on vacation in New Orleans. I heard a little about the historical significance of the restaurant and decided to give it a try.

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

We took a cab since the restaurant is not located convenient to public transport. It’s a nondescript building with a small sign that could easily be missed if you weren’t looking out for it. The menu features a mix of soul food and creole cuisine. We opted for the $18 all you can eat buffet which gave us a chance to sample many of their entrees, including their famous fried chicken. Also featured were red beans & rice, mac & cheese, salad, fried catfish, andouille sausage & seafood gumbo.

Despite the modest decor on the outside, the inside is quite colorful with lots of beautiful paintings from local artists. There’s a main dining room with smaller rooms for private functions, each painted in bright colors.

Dooky Chase main dining room

private dining room

salon area

Some of the beautiful local artwork..

local artwork

The food was delicious. I was looking forward to the peach cobbler, but they had run out and were served pecan pie with ice cream instead. Only drawback is that the restaurant is open only for brunch on weekdays. We briefly spotted the owner, Leah Chase walking through the restaurant to greet patrons.

It’s not the best photo, but I managed to get a shot of this picture of President Obama with the owner.

Obama & Leah Chase

Afterwards, we decided to walk back to downtown. The surrounding neighborhood is a residential area that is still recovering from the effects of hurricane Katrina. We passed some newly built houses as well as those still boarded up. Spotted this t-shirt at a local souvenir shop that was quite appropriate.

make levees not war

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
2301 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 821-0535

Tastes of New Orleans Pt. 2

So while walking the streets of the french quarter we unexpectedly stumbled across an african spot, Bennachin restaurant located towards the eastern end. Surprising to see such a place in a city that is mainly known for creole & cajun cuisine, I was eager to try out New Orleans version of african cooking.

The decor was bright & colorful, lots of african artwork on the walls that matched well with the exposed brick of the walls. First thing I noticed when I browsed the menu was that I was not familiar with most of the dishes offered on the menu. Most african restaurants I’ve tried in the past featured Senegalese cuisine. According to the waitress who served us, the restaurant was started by two women, one Cameroonian, the other Gambian. “Bennachin” is an african word that roughly translates to an african version of Jambalaya.

Bennachin restaurant

Bennachin restaurant

We started off with an appetizer of Akara which are black eye pea fritters served with a chunky spiced tomato sauce for dipping. They were light in texture, not greasy, the taste is relatively bland so adding the sauce jazzes it up.

Akara from Bennachin

For the main dish, my mom ordered the Chicken Yassa. It was different from the versions I’ve seen from Senegalese restaurants but still delicious. It was chicken in a light sauce with cabbage & carrots served over couscous.

Chicken Yassa

I ordered the Sisay Dourang Boneless chicken with roasted peanuts served over rice with a thick brown gravy. You can order all dishes mild, medium or spicy. I like spicy food so I chose medium which was a dash of chili powder to garnish the dish.

Sisay dourang

Portions were huge, we both ended up bringing home the rest of the food which made for a second meal. Service was on the slower side as all dishes are made to order. Using the restroom required having to walk through the kitchen so I got to meet the two women that were cooking. The restroom is shared with an Italian restaurant next door, but the courtyard looked pretty.

Bennachin courtyard

If you’ve never tried African food before definitely give it a try. For me it was a departure from the typical New Orleans fare as well as the typical african cuisine I’m used to. For the non-meat eaters, they also offer vegetarian options. They don’t serve alcohol but you can BYOB from a wine shop across the street.

Need a second opinion? Click the link below & check out this video review.

Bennachin Restaurant, New Orleans

Bennachin Restaurant
1212 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-1230

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