(WMC-TV) - HIGH SCORE OF THE WEEK: Le Fuuta Restaurant, 4527 Millbranch Rd., Whitehaven, 901-297-8964.
West African cuisine ...from a kitchen that's sparkling clean.
It took Aissatou Barry nine years and crossing an entire hemisphere, but her African American/European restaurant Le Fuuta finally topped this week's charts with a 98 on its Sept. 4 health inspection.
"I am good in the kitchen," Barry boasted, although that's not why she moved to the States almost a decade ago.
She came here to go to beauty school. But after cooking for friends -- and for a son who adores his mama - they all told her, "Girl, you need to be in the restaurant business!"
After an unsuccessful run with another place on Horn Lake Blvd., she opened Le Fuuta in Whitehaven last December. West African sodas stock the cooler. West African chicken, beef and shrimp waft the air.
"The only thing I don't do is pork," she said.
She does fish. It's her specialty.
Especially her lightly fried whole tilapia (watch the bones!) with couscous imported from the Ivory Coast and seasoned with bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers and jumbo (mixed with oil -- think African soy sauce).
"It's seasoned very well," said loyal customer Catherine Stokes of Nesbit, MS. "It's like something you've never had before."
"I've never tasted any (fish) that good in my life -- except once, maybe, when I was in Jamaica," said Stokes' husband Andrew. "They make it just about the same."
Nothing's the same as Le Fuuta in Whitehaven.
WHAT ANDY LIKES: Fried Tilapia W/Ivory Coast Couscous, Grilled Chicken w/African Fried Rice, Chawarma (beef, chicken or lamb slow-roasted and stuffed in a pita).
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715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201