At African Grill (1496 Fifth Avenue, at 120th Street; 212-987-3836), breakfast seems more like dinner -- and not just because the drapes are pulled tight against the morning light. Chef Ousmane Kane learned to cook from his mother, who ran a restaurant in Senegal, and his breakfast philosophy seems to be to eat what you might for dinner, only earlier, when you need the energy most. The protein-packed power breakfast menu one morning included juicy fried chicken spiked with loads of black pepper and garlic, served with salad and a hefty dollop of mayonnaise, and sautéed kidneys and onions with petits pois. Breakfast is served until noon, but sleepyheads run the risk of missing the lamb chops viande, which seem to sell out early.
Our Mom was never at her culinary best in the morning. Her breakfast repertoire boiled down to three dishes: Wheatina (clumpy), Maypo (lumpy), and Cream of Wheat (pasty). Since then, we've stayed away from anything hot and mushy in the morning. That was until we discovered congee, the soupy rice porridge which is to East and Southeast Asia what oatmeal is to Scotland. While there's only so much you can do to dress up a bowl of breakfast oats, congee lends itself to all sorts of mostly savory condiments and add-ons. --NY Magazine