MSP: Tam Tam's African Restaurant
Last August, Chowhound tvdxer wrote an excellent report on several places including Tam Tam's African Restaurant in this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428244
A friend & I were going to see a show at the Triple Rock last night, and we decided to eat supper at Tam Tam's a few doors down. We enjoyed it greatly and recommend this place to all chowhounds.
Menu is here on the website: http://www.tamtamsrestaurant.com/
I like that they have menu sections featuring dishes from different regions of Africa.
Looked like it is a husband/wife operation, but I don't know this for certain. Sally from Uganda was the front of house and was very friendly and enjoyable to talk with.
We ordered "The Lion's Feast (serves two)" and as is often the case in these wonderful little restaurants it was a stunning amount of food that really could fill three people.
Starter course was two each of sambosas (ground beef filling) and Tambo chicken pies. These were somewhat plain and would benefit from a dipping souce or chutney, but good enough nonetheless. CHOWTIP: if I were to order The Lion's Feast again, I might be tempted to have them just wrap the chicken pie up to take home for later because it is like a 6" pasty. In my book, this is more of a lunch than an "appetizer!" Then I might have a better chance of making a dent in the rest of the dinner.
Next came a plate with some good collard greens and the starch. You can choose rice, chapati, ugali, or injera. We opted for ugali since we had never had it. Similar to tvdxer's experience, Sally asked if we'd like to split the ugali half-and-half with another type, so we also got chapatis. I might opt for injera next time since it would really sop up the good stew. The ugali (aka fu-fu, I think?) was a heavy, dense dumpling bigger than a baby's head with pretty much zero flavor, but wonderful in the sauce of the Hunter's stew that was also served at this time. Sally said that ugali is poor people's food in Africa and that if there is nothing else, at least the ugali will fill you up.
Next was the Tam Tam's stew. We ordered medium spicy and it still had a pleasant zing. With a choice of beef, chicken, or goat we opted for the goat, of course. Served in chpped pieces on the bone (as menu says all their meat is), it was really really good. Possibly the best goat I have ever had.
We were sated by this point, but then came the Hunter's Ribs. Da-yum! This platter looked like the brontosaurus ribs at the Bedrock Drive-Inn that tipped over the Flinststones' car. Two giant ribs which each had a couple of giant flaps or wings that seemed to have been butterflyed open. Each of these cut off of the rib easily and were like a delicious steak. Seared salt-rubbed exterior, and the fatty bits were delicious. Sally had come out and asked if we wanted the ribs medium well or well done or what. We said "oh no no no! We don't need them well done at all." And they were juicy and just a tiny bit pink inside the tasty charred outside. I'd call it medium and I would not have minded medium rare if they can still get that beautiful crunchy charred yet flavorful and juicy exterior. Succulent and flavorful!
A tasty pico de gallo came out with the ribs, and I would compare the combination favorably with my best grilled tri-tip with salsa experiences in California.
Sally had warned that it takes 45 minutes to prepare the ribs but we had plenty of time, and the course was well timed after the others anyway--we were still eating stew.
We obtained to-go boxes for the ribs, and I just enjoyed the heck out of working the rest of the meat off that bone for lunch today. This is AFTER I had eaten the equivalent of two steaks off it, mind you.
The bill for our feast for "two" was $33.00 even, including tax.
Yes, we had to have a piece of bacon at the Triple Rock since it was Wednesday night and they set out baskets of free bacon on the bar, but it damn near killed us after all that meat.
Place links is being cranky, so here is the address:
Tam Tam's African Restaurant
605 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
Went to Tam Tam's again last group in a group of five before we went to hear Gogol Bordello at the Cabooze. All enjoyed the chow, including the vegetarian in the group who had the Eland's Platter (or is it Eland's Feast?), a multi-course meal like the Lion's Feast, only all vegetarian and for one person.
One fact to add is that they do have wine and bottled beer, which I had missed before. Ask Sally for a list if you don't get one. Wines are inexpensive-- I think the Reisling and Sauvignon Blanc that we had were like $16 per bottle. Beers included basic domestic (Miller, IIRC) as well as Guiness (yay!) and Tusker Beer from Kenya.
Check for five people was $105 before tip, and that included our two bottles of wine and a Tusker.
I noted before that there did not seem to be many customers, which is why our group rendezvoused here. However, last night (Thursday) business seemed to clip along with at least a half dozen parties of two during the time we were there.
loved your review and it was a lovely coincidence because i was looking up info on tam tams for our next book club meeting as we are reading an african novel and i wanted to discuss it at a place with african food and decor to keep the mood going. then suddenly i see your review on chowhound. so a friend and i checked it out today.
we met for a light lunch and to test the atmosphere and service as well as the food and it ranks high on all counts. we shared the tam tam stew with chicken. tho my friend normally prefers white meat chicken and the stew contained drumsticks, she agreed that it was delicious. for side breads we got the uguali - our lovely waitress said we could get it with half chapati so we did. the chapati was perfect dipped in the stew. the greens were good, interesting, looked like spinach but i think they were collard greens.
we also shared an appetizer of a ground beef samosa. the beef mixture had a lovely spiciness to it.
i had their chai tea which had delectable spices in it.
then the mango ice cream - mmmmmm.. with that elusive mango flavor and so creamy once we did our back to our childhood stirring of ice cream to make it soft and melty. perfect.
i look forward to a return visit to try more items on the menu and i'm sure our book club is going to enjoy it too.
we talked with steven, the owner, before we left. very warm and welcoming with a beautiful lilt to his accent. the whole experience made for a pleasant interlude on a
sunny and summery sunday.
bonus is that there is free parking and the lot is across from freewheel bicycle so i'm getting my old bike all rigged out and ready for many more miles.
a good day indeed.