Went for lunch on a recent Saturday with six hounds. Nice space, lovely people, good food, I’d go back. What we ordered, with descriptions aided by menu cribbing (and my personal comments—others will differ):
Complimentary sliced (very ordinary) French bread with (extraordinary) dipping sauce made of various cooked slivered vegetables (onions, peppers, zucchini?) in oil flavored with…well it was distinctly spicy and there was anise or fennel seed in there. We were told the cook makes this slightly differently each day, depending.
Accara—blackeye pea fritters with a dipping sauce—nice and light, very good.
Fataya—fish-stuffed turnovers with sauce—dried-fish (??) funky, ate more than my share but wouldn’t bother again.
Spring rolls—quite competent but interesting mainly because it’s a Senegalese take with beef not pork (turns out Viet cuisine very popular there due to French links).
“Salad ordinaire”—sweet and white potatoes, beets, boiled eggs, greens, lime & coconut dressing—lighter than it sounds. I (who likes salads) enjoyed it but would have preferred a bit more lime; coconut was nicely understated.
Thiebou Djeun—herb-stuffed fish cooked in tomato stew w/broken jasmine rice, cassava & other starchy vegetables—very good preparation but this was some sort of dark oily fish and a little stronger than ideal. The carcass was picked clean though.
Mafe—lamb stew with mostly starchy vegetables in a peanut sauce—I really liked this, all about the sauce, detected a smokiness in the flavor, peanut not overwhelming.
Yassa guinaar—marinated grilled chicken in lemon and caramelized onion sauce—lord this was good. You could put that sauce on boiled boots and I’d eat it. They have a fish dish with a similar treatment.
Dibi (not on lunch menu but they were happy to make it)—grilled marinated lamb chops with onion and mustard sauce served with sweet potato fries—delicious. The lamb was sliced very thinly (bone and all) and I believe all bones were thoroughly gnawed.
We tried one dessert, millet beignets with crème anglaise and a citrus sauce—expertly fried and much less sweet than I’d feared. Excellent.
And we all had one of the soft drinks based on hibiscus/sorrel or ginger (there’s a third they were out of). Lovely grown-up flavors, recommended.
Prices for entrees are $12-13 for lunch, $15-17 for dinner, and the menus are much the same.
Allstonian and I went over to Teranga Wednesday night before the Grizzly Bear show at Berklee, based on early reports from this meal. We had the hibiscus and ginger drinks, the accara, the spring rolls and the salad ordinaire to start, and the dibi and mafe for mains. There was not a single thing I didn't love about the entire meal, especially the mafe, which was amazing. But my favorite part was my dessert. Allstonian got the millet beignets, which were lovely, but the couscous pudding with tropical fruits that I had was probably my favorite dessert I have ever had at a restaurant in Boston, with the possible exception of the corn fritters and buttermilk ice cream at Sage.
Highlights for me were the mafe (nicely balanced flavors) and the yassa guinaar (yes, that sauce is very tasty), and I’d buy that complimentary caramelized onion/vegetable dipping sauce by the quart if it were available. The sauce with the thiebou dieun was also excellent, though the fish itself didn’t quite measure up to that mark. The hibiscus and ginger drinks (both available with a shot of sake, strangely enough) are refreshing and sophisticated additions to the usual drink selection. The salad and dibi would be at home on many bistro menus, and are good dishes to suggest for dining companions who may be reluctant to sample more exotic fare.
More photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/84539512...
Hope Teranga manages to weather the economic drought; during the nearly two hours we spent there for a Saturday lunch we were the only customers.
They may be slow at lunch time, but they were doing just fine on Wednesday night. I was similarly concerned when we arrived to a completely empty restaurant a bit before 7, but by the time our entrees arrived the place was full, including the bar.
I almost went with the yassa guinaar before going for the dibi based on Taralli's rave. I'm already looking forward to another visit so I can try the chicken.
I, too, loved the comp sauce. We really tried to get the recipe, but they wouldn't give up the "secret ingredient" :(... I loved the Yassa chix & the super gingery drink. Next time, I'll ask for extra lime/coconut dressing for the salad, & hopefully, they will not have run out of the sorrel creme brulee. Afterwards, some of us stopped by the SE Emporium for Ethiopian items.
my personal favorites were the mafe (groundnut stew), yassa guinaar (yassa chicken), dibi (grilled lamb chops), ginger root juice, and the beignets dougoups (millet flour donuts) with creme anglaise for dessert
the creamy peanuty sauce in the mafe was wonderful over jasmine rice and the sweet potato fries that came with the dibi were addictive. there was a creme brulee made with sorrel on the dessert menu that we wanted to try but unfortunately they sold out the night before. i would love to return and sample all the desserts