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Restaurants & Bars

ghanian in st. paul (long)

john | Nov 18, 200512:53 PM

hans i went to kenkayba's palace last night for dinner, and it was just great. the restaurant is located just west of the university-victoria intersection, across from the u-haul depot and next to the 'best steak house.'

the restaurant is very new--emmanuel, the owner (or maybe the co-owner), told us they opened last friday--and pretty small. the decor isn't anything to crow about, but the place is clean and the staff friendly and very generous (more on that in a bit).

you order at a counter from a menu on the wall. neither of had eaten ghanian before, so we told them we were hungry and to bring us whatever they wanted. they conferred and told us they were going to bring us agusi and spinach with banku and joloff with goat stew.

the agusi was stewed spinach with ground pumpkin seeds and some pieces of long-cooked beef. banku is a mixture of cassava flour and white cornmeal that is steamed for a long time in some sort of cylindrical mold. it is sliced and you use it to scoop up the spinach stew. it has the texture of long-cooked grits, or perhaps polenta cakes. you scoop the banku into your fingers, dip it in the agusi, and eat it with your was outstanding, and fun.

joloff is rice cooked with tomatoes, spices, and peppers. it has a little heat to it. ours had some smaller, dried-out grains of rice in it. they gave it a slight crunch--i'm not sure if they were supposed to be there or not. the goat stew served on top of it was rich and meaty and slightly hot. we chose to eat this with spoons. this was also very good.

as we finished our meal, the owner and another man who was doing some carpentry type work in the back of the restaurant came out with a large plate of food, sat at the table next to us, and invited us TO SHARE THEIR DINNER WITH THEM, WITH OUR FINGERS. i still can't get over that hospitality.

they were eating kenkey (sp?) (white cornmeal wrapped in corn husks and steamed for 'at least three hours'-sorta like a plain tamale--emmanuel said he was famous for these in new york, he used to sell them to restaurants there), fried snapper, and a hot, spicy pepper sauce. we had a very nice converstaion with he and the carpenter guy, and after their very friendly and repeated requests, sampled some of their dinner. it was really, really good.

total cost for our meal, which included two soads and two botteld waters, was $17.25. there was apparently no charge to eat off the owner's plate.

they have a variety of other dishes in small, medium, and large sizes. they serve a ghanian brunch on weekends, though i was a little unclear about what that entailed. based on what we ate, i'd heartily recommend this place.


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