For me the best part of Harlem is Le Petit Senegal. If I want to reminisce about my Peace Corps days and I am in Manhattan, all I need to do is go to 116th street and I'm back. The languages, the food, the dress, all of it is captured in a beautiful microcosm in this wonderful neighborhood.
On my most recent visit, I tried out Kaloum which has only Senegalese food. I asked for a menu, perused it, and ordered in French. I was informed that they only had 3 selections available for lunch and to disregard the menu. 1 bonus star for authenticity already. I ordered the mafe which is their famous peanut sauce with lamb meat in it, and to drink I had jus de gingembre (ginger juice). The oddly cut meat was served with bones in it. Another bonus star for authenticity. The sauce was great and had a nicer arrachide flavor than I usually had in Burkina Faso -- awesome. The juice was really spicy, more so than I am used to from the roadside vendors in west Africa. That surprised me. --YELP http://www.yelp.com/biz/kaloum-restaurant-new-york