I don’t know if my “logic” that “Bissap Baobab” on Mission just below 19th (2323) and “Little Baobab” around the corner, east on 19th street on the north side of the street are related, because they share the same “last name” is reasonable, but they do, in fact, have the same owner and a penchant for coconut. Both have friendly, helpful staff and prominent bars. Little baobab is more barebones, and, well, little.
“Bissap” is the Wolof (and other West African language) name for hibiscus, and Bissap Baobab makes bissap margaritas. Senegal was a French colony, and for the sake of my readers, I forced myself to order dessert, a warm chocolate soufflé, which was céleste (heavenly).
The entrées we ordered were more African, less French, skewered shrimp in cococnut sauce, and Dibi lamb, grilled with fried plantains (ripe: maduros in the dominant Mission language; aloko in Wolof) and and onion sauce. Dibi can also be ordered with chicken or tiliapia.
Had we had a third diner along, someone might have sampled the Yassa, a lemon/garlic/mustard sauce for chicken or tilapia.
The menu is not extensive, though the meats for the various sauces/preparations can vary and there is a choice of couscous (with a few stray peas and carrots) or steamed rice (Little Baobab has coconut rice).
Maybe because we were there early, Bissap Baobab had quieter music than I can remember from visits to Little Baobab, where it has sometimes been difficult to hear each other. Both have live music on occasion. Bissap Baobab has more décor with fairy lights, the pictured mural on the back wall, some big masks, and striking portrait paintings of Senegalese sitters. Though I prefer the ambience at Bissap Baobab, I prefer the food at Little Baobab (plantains in tamarind sauce), I think, but haven’t been there for awhile. Little Baobab also serves the warm chocolate soufflé (with a scoop of ice cream) and a Senagales paella with lamb mixed in (Joalienn). I remember a salad fondly, but am not sure which one it was.
BTW, baobab trees are believed to hold up heaven in Madagascar, and, I presume in other African worldviews.