Patina African Restaurant
I found what is my favorite new (under 2 years) African restaurant in the city last week: the Bronx's Patina African Restaurant. You'll more carefully and lovingly prepared food here than you will, I venture to say, at almost any West African restaurants in the Bronx.
I became enamored with African restaurants early on in my eating career, after I returned from China and was still attending Fordham U. My introduction was Papaye, which I learned about through Dave Cook. That first bite of peanut soup was delicious, exotic, and sweltering.
But I've found it really hard to find West African restaurants in the BX serving a) quality food that is b) different. Everyone does the sample soups and stews and you CAN'T sample that stuff.
Patina breaks from the norm a bit. They serve Banga soup (!!!), made with extract of the palm fruit ("nut"). It's invigoratingly but overwhelmingly spicy and quite unlike anything else I've eaten. If you've had palm oil, you'll recognize it's musky flavor. There's some funky depth from stock fish, too.
I also took a bite of their spinach stew, which was perhaps the most well seasoned I'd tasted in any African restaurant in New York. Lots of bright heat from habaneros and plenty of fishy, briny flavor from stock fish and fresh fish.
Among other items harder to find elsewhere, they serve kelewele, fish roll (meat pie with fish rolled up like a sausage), and puff puff. Suaya, too!
I've gotta go back, but this is, likely, my favorite African restaurant in the Bronx aside from Bate.
More here: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2014/0...
Thanks, NYNH! The banga soup's terrific and filling, with the complex flavors you describe and a ton of tender stewed goat (I got it with plantain fufu). Tina, the chef and proprietor, is sweet and helpful with menu questions. She even brought around an extra bowl of that sauce. I'll try the spinach stew next time, maybe a fish roll or an order of kebabs, too.
I made an excursion to the Bronx specifically to try Patina the other day--delicious! Such a lovely woman behind the counter as well, very warm and friendly, and happy to tell me about the dishes as I'm new to West African cuisine (she called the food Ghanaian). I had an enormous plate of exquisite and complex dishes, both over rice, which I devoured. One was a kind of goat stew or curry, and the other was red and I'm having trouble thinking of an appropriate adjective. She also makes a homemade hot sauce that had a flavor unlike anything I've ever tasted--earthy, neither bitter nor sweet, an ur-spiciness! Opened vast palate horizons. I'm going back so I can buy a large quantity of it to take home and put on everything. And to try the spinach stew.
Excellent recommendation NewYorkNewHaven! Can't wait to try Bate.