EN is a new addition to the Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill dining community. It specializes in Nigerian and Caribbean cuisine and I wish I could say I loved it or even liked it but I can't. To be fair, my dining companion and myself sampled only the Nigerian dishes and stayed away from the Caribbean influenced ones. I say "influenced” because their take on West Indian dishes appeared more like Tikki Bar meets the Islands via a can of dole pineapple. All these plates contained pineapple and appeared overly sweet. We eschewed these in favor of what we hoped would be a taste of Nigeria. Now to be honest I am unfamiliar with Nigerian cuisine and can only judge it by the universal culinary standard: did the food seem well prepared? As well as by my own palate. On both En failed to please.
The cod fish balls had no hint of cod and if they had been called corn meal balls would have been ok. The two other dishes (I am sorry I can’t remember the names) were not pleasing at all. I had a stewed dish prepared with ground nuts, fermented fish sauce, some sort of green and chicken. Now I like fermented fish but in this preparation the taste dominated all others and left an unpleasant taste that lingered for hours. In addition the chicken was not soft but rather tough. My companion’s dish was a goat stew with okra, tomatoes and palm oil. The goat was actually tender (we were surprised as our very pleasant waitress told us it was tougher that most Americans expect) but the goatskin was not pleasing (again to be honest she warned us about this and offered to serve it without the skin but we forged ahead). If the mélange the goat was sitting in was tasty this might have been the dish of the night. Unfortunately it was not. The overall taste was that of something rancid. Perhaps it was the palm oil (which I have used in cooking many times and know it should not taste rancid). Add to this we waited for our food for a good hour and the appetizer (the codfish balls) came out with our main meal, it was not a happy time.
So what was good? Well the drinks were good and the waitress was very sweet and I sense she knew we were not happy and said the owner wanted to offer us something else. But at that point we had enough, politely paid the bill and left.
I don’t know now if I simply don’t like Nigerian food or if this was simply poorly prepared but I have a feeling it was the latter. The kitchen seemed so unprofessional. After all, there was only one other table occupied and they left about half way into our long wait for our food.
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