@JenKalb plus one, @small_h, and I are getting together for dinner at the Nigerian restaurant Buka on Thursday, September 22, at 7:00. We have room for one or two more at our table. If anyone else would like to join us, please chime in soon!
West African land snails, people!
Sad to mss this meal. Will look forward to reading about it!
Snails! Loved this. In a tomato-y, oily sauce. But there were only three of them. And four of us. (There were also only three shrimp in the shrimp dish we ordered - portion size was generally daintier than I expected.)
Yam - reminiscent of yuca, according to me - and eggs with peppers and tomatoes and onions. A nice, basic, comforting plate of food.
Stockfish in what was billed as a spicy tomato sauce and really wasn’t. But! the sauce we ordered to go with it, which I think was either the egusi or the efo, was quite assertive, strong and funky. And fufu, up there on the left. The fish was dried, so very chewy, requiring gnawing in addition to biting.
There were some other things that don’t look great in my photos. Hopefully they’ll look great in someone else’s!
what were people’s thoughts around the meal? will you visit again?
I’m glad I went, and I liked some of what we had quite a bit. But I got to try pretty much everything I was interested in, and the two dishes I thought were best (the shrimp and the snails) were very small for the price. So I probably wouldn’t go back. Plus, I had an absolutely miserable time getting home because of some subway nonsense, but that’s not the restaurant’s fault.
Husband Jim and I enjoyed the meal (first exposure to this cuisine). I really liked the NIgerian tomato sauce, the suya sauce (a Nigerian spice powder mixture) served with the shrimp and the fufus (pounded fresh white yam, with an elastic texture rather like bread dough and eba, fermented ground cassava, a little looser and grainier. I liked the moi moi, a steamed custardy textured savory pudding seasoned mildly with smoked fish. I was less enthusiastic about the egusi sauce served with our unnecessarily chewy stockfish in tomato sauce tho it grew on me with time. We tried to stick with vegetable and fish dishes, I think I would try some of the meat and fried dishes on a return along with suya dishes. I recommend the not very beery, maybe a little sweet Nigerian STAR beer to drink.
Definitely a consciousness expanding meal and great company!
I’ve been to several Nigerian, Ghanian & IvoryCoast places in NYC and Paris and have had mixed feelings about even the better ones. Sorry to have missed Buka, but am definitely interested in getting a group over to “Department of Culture” in Bklyn. Its gotten some great write ups for its chef directed fixed price meals. We could probably take over the place and help determine the menu for the evening. Maybe in November?
Here are a few more photos, most from Thursday evening.
Moi moi, freed from its plastic ramekin.
Grilled tiger shrimp, with jollof rice. We were a party of four. Our server might have mentioned that we’d be getting just three shrimp, and perhaps offered to upsize our order; as shown, this plate was $16 for the skewer and the suya powder, plus $3 for swapping out white rice. Also: “tiger” shrimp?
Edikaikong, goat and (so the menu said) tripe, stewed with spinach.
A closeup of the spinach, cooked with crayfish, dried shrimp, and periwinkle.
Eba, the fermented-cassava fufu that we paired with the edikaikong.
For reference: whole slabs of giant land snail skewered with shrimp and vegetables, at the 2009 Nigerian Independence Day Festival in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
I’m happy to have revisited Buka and to have tried the yam and eggs, a new one on me. Rather than return, I’d sooner join Steve (and others) at Dept. of Culture or get a group together for any number of non-Nigerian dinners. Good company is the best part of the meal!
Wait, maybe in Mystery tasting menus are a little dangerous for this non-omnivore.
I’m in, and agreed!
Re: Buka. EV Grieve posted this morning that they are opening an outpost in the EV on First Ave., between St. Mark’s Pl. & Ninth St. Expected to open Oct. 1st.
Well, now I’m EXTRA surly about my subway debacle!
I was actually thinking of you, @small_h, and how conveniently located it will be for you. I forgot about your mention of the subway “debacle.” You might even be able to walk here from where you live and avoid the subway altogether.
Yep, an ambitious small h could walk it. But everyday lazy small h would take the M14.
Maybe they’ll deliver.
There’s a joke here about using Door Dash to order snails.
In! @small_h I think that was the one about the hare and the tortoise…