Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sambuza Grill – Minneapolis, MN

EyeHeartPizza assured me she was feeling adventurous tonight, so I suggested Russian food or East African food. She said African sounded good, so I tried to find Safari. Safari had an express food booth in the Midtown Market, and both Gerd and I loved the food there. I wrote down the address for Safari and we headed out in the rain.

When we got there, we saw the place had changed names to the Sambuza Grill. It was still serving East African food, so we thought we’d better try it. We walked in and sat down and the waiter brought us menus. I’ll be honest (as usual), the menu didn’t really have much on it that seemed specifically African. Lots of chicken sandwiches, wraps, and various curries. I saw like three or four things on there. (I checked online and there seemed to be more than I remembered seeing on the menu in the restaurant.)

The guy brought us silverware and a banana for each of us, but we were unsure of what to do with the bananas – eat them now? Eat them with the food, eat them afterwards as dessert? Still no idea. EyeHeartPizza ordered the curried chicken and I couldn’t decide whether to get the Goat Curry or the Sambuza KeyKey. The waiter said to go with the Goat, so I did – and he suggested having it spicy, which I did. The waiter then returned with some soup which he said the name of, but I didn’t catch. It was green and thick and really good.

The food came a short while later and looked delicious. Both meals came with a big portion of rice. The curried chicken was a whole mess of chicken and green peppers in yellow curry. The goat was a big pile of various bones and meat with some onions and peppers.

The goat was seasoned and cooked really nicely. It was a bit gristle-y but the meat was still good. There were a lot of bones to work through as well. I ended up using my fingers a lot and biting through each piece pretty carefully. The meat had a pretty good zip to it and tasted great, despite the bones.

The waiter came back and asked us if we didn’t like bananas, so I guess that means we weren’t supposed to wait that long to eat the bananas. Maybe with the meal itself or maybe with the soup. I tried the last couple bites of mine with the banana and it actually killed some of the spice, but also added a really good flavor. I wish I had tried it earlier. I ended up finishing what EyeHeartPizza couldn’t eat, and once again, her’s was better than mine. I think I’ll go with the chicken if I get back here again.

Despite being bummed that I didn’t see anything I recognized from Safari on the menu, I was pretty happy with my meal. It wasn’t the best African food I’ve ever had, but it was good.

Top 5 things about Sambuza Grill
1. Chicken curry
2. Goat curry
3. Random soup
4. Banana was an interesting touch
5. All meals are under $9, so we ate for like $20 - wurd

Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd really wanted to try Safari, but we didn’t get to
2. The menu seemed to lack a lot of African dishes
3. I’m going to have to listen to Peaches complain that I intentionally ate goat
4. Wish I knew when to eat the banana (twss)
5. Now I’m worried the booth at the Midtown Marketplace is closed…


Anonymous said...

We were looking for an African restaurant we had discovered closer to downtown when we discovered it was closed and tried Sambuza. We have actually been back two more times because we do really like it and have brought friends. Try the Chicken Fantastic. It is great. We asked what to do with the banana! Also, the soup is not always served and sometimes mango juice served with meal. We are usually lone white people but that's OK.

Anonymous said...

I think all Americans are confused about the bananas—I thought Somalis just really liked them a lot, but it turns out they are a part of every meal. I don't do this myself, but when I eat with my African friends, they take pieces of the banana and eat them with each bite of food, no matter if it's chicken, goat, spaghetti, whatever. If you're not into this, you can just tell them from the beginning that you don't need the banana and they will keep it for someone else.

Anonymous said...

I have been coming to Sambuza Grill since last summer and I tried most things that's on the menu. Now I have a favorite which is "CHICKEN SUQAR & ANJERA". It's more like a think PAN CAKE. Just imagine CREPE. This meal is the most wonderful African that I would enjoy to eat everytime. Also, someone posted about the chicken fantastic, it is very good too.