Northern Boulevard has long been known as the way to a great meal touting numerous excellent places to eat. Since 1979, La Baraka has been treating the citizens of the local University Gardens community to some of the most wonderful French cuisine in a friendly neighborhood atmosphere.
The name La Baraka comes from a Moroccan greeting that means blessing and goodness and reflects the proprietor's long journey to Long Island. Jean-Luc Sonigo came to New York from Paris via Algeria. A colony that gave French food an African accent. The black curtained front of the establishment proudly proclaims " French Restaurant. " La Baraka advertises itself as ' French cuisine with a touch North Africa.'
The restaurant has the look and feel of a family business in the Mediterranean, and Jean-Luc's wife, Lucette, runs the show. Customers constantly tell of her special knack for making their first visit a special one making them feel part of the family operation. They are open Monday thru Saturday from 11:30 to 2:30 for lunch and every day for dinner 5 to 9 p.m. (9:30 on Friday and Saturday)
The menu consist mainly of French masterpieces. Their lunch menu starts you out with classics like mussels provincial and their savory pates. The escargot is always fresh and succulent. One interesting appetizers is the soup trio of their homemade soups which change daily but always features a very good French onion. If you are in a hurry you might go with a simple but delicious quiche Lorraine or an omelet. However, if you have time to sample on e of their gourmet offering you ' re in for a treat. Their filet mignon au piour is cooked to per fection with their brandy cream sauce. The roasted duck is crisp with a lovely orange finish.
The dinner menu is quite extensive. One of the popular North Af ican offerings is the couscous made of steamed balls of semolina mixed with beef, chicken, lamb , a Tunisian merguez sausage and smothered in a harissa pepper paste. Seafood is a specialty and one of the most best selling dishes on the menu is Bass en Croute with fish cooked and served inside a flaky crust. The lamb chops also get high praise as grilled to perfection with garlic and parsley.
The chocolate mousse can only be described as decadent. They also have the chef ' s selection and the complete dinner that allows you to sample many wonderful dishes for one price.
But the real star at La Baraka is its buffet. For $15 at lunch time you get one of their delicious soups, shrimp, a selection of different exotic salads, cheese , fruit and two hot entrée along with coffee or tea. They also offer a special twilight menu that offers salad, a choice among a selection of their favorite appetizers and a list of entrees including trout almandine and their lamb kabob. End it with one of their sweet deserts like their chocolate truffle cake with a Turkish coffee all for under $30. The twilight menu is available from 5 to 6:45 and 6 :30 on Saturday. These special deals is why La Baraka was chosen by Zagat as the Best Cheap All-you-can-eat spot in the city.
The Sonigo family brought many of the customs of their homeland with them and La Baraka celebrates Mardi Gras in the spring and Bastille Day in the summer along with other holiday events. To find out more about this wonderful eatery go to www.labarakarest.com