Teranga....has anyone been yet?
- AnjLM May 21, 2009 06:29 PM
I'm planning on trying out Teranga (the new Senegalese restaurant on Washington St. + Mass Ave) next week. Has anyone tried it yet? It would be great to get some feedback/recommendations before going.
I went to Teranga opening night and a couple times since then and everything I've tried has been absolutely delicious.
Take my advice and get the Thiebou Djeun your first time there since it's the national dish of Senegal. I've also tried one of the lamb dishes (Dibi) and the fish (Poisson Braise) and am looking forward to tasting the chicken (Yassa Guinaar).
The Thiebou Djeun was a fish fillet stuffed with spinach (served with cabbage and broken jasmine rice) but the Poisson Braise is the entire fish grilled to perfection. I saw several lamb dishes and some can be prepared without meat (vegetarian) by request. The appetizers showcase French and Asian influences. Some of the dishes are flavored with spices and fruit (savory but subtley sweet). One or two feature nut sauce.
The atmosphere is welcoming and the prices are reasonable. I can tell right now that this will be one of my regular haunts.
Had dinner at Teranga last night - a good experience and good food, but have plus/minus comments. Generally, it's a cuisine we haven't had before, nothing was bad, the price point is very nice for the neighborhood and the quality. (They are going to get a ton of business on overflow from Toro, we realized.)
The olive sauce that comes with the bread is tasty, wonderfully peppery without overpowering the olives. DC got the Dibi, which was great. The lamb chops were grilled perfectly medium rare - I appreciate that they didn't ask, they just grill it up medium rare like it should be - and we loved the flavor (in a running theme, we couldn't place the spices.). They should have served it with a steak knife, though. The accara appetizer - fried ground chick pea - was perfectly ok, but tasted mostly of frying.
I got the Michoui, the lamb shank, which was disappointing. What I'm looking for with a lamb shank is meat extremely tender and falling off the bone when I stick my fork in, but it was pretty tough and I had to cut off chunks with my knife and fork. The sauce was savory and tasty (couldn't place the spices) and the couscous on the side went well with it. The side on the Dibi was a somewhat inexplicable pile of lettuce, and some fried yucca - a sauce or a dressing would have helped out here.
We looked for the Thiebou Djeun on the menu and couldn't find it - are we just blind?
The service. This isn't something that bothers us much at all, but if you're the sort of person who really expects attentive service, this might not be your place, or at least you might want to wait another month or two until they've worked things out a bit better. My amateur take is that they just don't have enough people in the front of the house - one poor guy appeared to be expediting, running, busing, and handling the bills for the entire restaurant. Bread didn't come until after apps, DC finished her beer before dinner and didn't get asked if she wanted another. But everyone was very friendly - especially impressive for how overstretched they were - and we had a good time. But, a warning.
You're not blind--on my takeout menu Thiebou Djeun is only on the lunch side. Bet they'd make it if you asked. Curious if your lamb chops were regular thickness or extra-thin--maybe they sliced ours thinly because we were sharing? Glad to hear they were busy, even if it caused service problems.
I recently tried Teranga and had a mixed experience food wise. The sauce the comes with the bread was delicious. We ordered Nems (I think that's what it was called) for the appetizer which were little spring rolls filled wth beef and shrimp and wrapped in what I thought was rice paper and fried. They were so good we ordered another serving of them. The lamb chops were delicious and cooked perfectly but I agree with you on the lamb shank...I prefer mine to be tender and falling off the bone...perhaps I'm just not familiar with Senegalese cuisine? My friend ordered the tilapia which was my least favorite fish. It almost had a bitter taste to it and not much else in the way of flavor. The juice we tried was delicious and the service was very attentive. The only problem we had with the service was that we ordered a one of the salads and what we got didn't fit the menu description. When we pointed this out to the waitress all she did was bring us the dressing that came with the salad we ordered (which wasn't the only reason the salad didn't fit the menu description). I think I'd probably go back to order the Nems and the juice and then move on to Toro or somewhere else nearby for the main course.
We had lunch there today, and there was a photog from the Globe taking pictures of a list of dishes. So an article is on the way. Sadly we were the only ones in the place! Nice elegant modern African vibe. Service a bit low-key but friendly.
Hibiscus drink was really tasty, quite sweet, and would have been even better on a hot day. Accara (black eyed pea fritters) was very well fried, light, not a particularly clear bean taste. House salad was unremarkable but papaya and mango in it tasted good.
I had Thiebou Djeun which I asked about and was told was "kingfish." (Apparently they've been struggling to figure out what fish available here to use in this "national dish." None of the ones they named that they've tried are anything like tilapia, which is what it says on the menu.) Came with sweet potato, cassava, broken rice. The tomato sauce was good with a fair amount of spice, a tad monochromatic but happy to have had it. Husband had Yassa Guinaar, a delicious chicken with lemon and caramelized onion sauce -- wonderful. Extra sauce on the rice that came with it. He won.
For 2 apps, 2 drinks, 2 entrees, the bill with tip came to just over $50. Look forward to seeing what the Globe has to say.