We were hungry for Ethiopian food, but it was Sunday afternoon and both Asmara (my favorite) and Awash (formerly Cafe Legare) were closed, so just as my friend Greg says "lets just look for something interesting" we turned onto University and I spotted a sign reading "Restaurant Afrique" (at 50th). The place was open and since the sign claimed that they served Somali, Ethiopian, and Sudanese food it seemed just what we were looking for.
We were welcomed graciously and, when the Owner (?) came over and told us that they did serve Mediterranean food like spaghetti, we told him we wanted real food like Ethiopian. He then told us that they only served Somali food, had been open only a week, and had no menu, and then he told us that he would bring us some of everything they had. We said great and he made us move to a bigger table so there would be enough room for all the food.
And alot of food it was. After a pitcher of water and a pitcher of orange juice were put on the table, it seemed like every minute our waiter would bring us another dish. My favorite was the wonderfully spiced, scented rice--with cinamon, saffron, raisons, etc. Then came the goat pieces grilled with veggies like peppers and onions, the grilled chicken breast slices with a lot of lettuce and tomato garnish, beef grilled with similar veggies as the goat, but more highly spiced, turmeric chicken chunks, spaghetti and slightly bitter tomato sauce, cous-cous, watermelon slices, and bananas.
All the food was good, if not spectacular. It was not as complex in spicing as Ethiopian, but there was an emphasis on freshness. We could hardly argue with the price--the feast cost us a total of $31. The place seemed to be doing good business as there were 4 or 5 other tables full of Somali men. In general, we were graciously treated and welcomed, though there was one discordant note that I will post about on the general boards.