On Friday morning, my husband alerted me to a new restaurant in our hood that had received a lot of online praise: Spice Kitchen. I am excited to try anything new, local, and interesting, so I was totally game. After the Zion Kitchen fiasco, I was leery but looking forward to finding decent West African food. We pulled up to the curb outside right at our pick-up time and when I called to check, they were just finishing up. Thankfully, this was not another Kinship scenario, but rather a restaurant being diligent about serving up something freshly made, as the chef showed up at our car mere moments later.
The most exciting thing was the suyu steak. It may not look like much, but it was cooked perfectly, with nary a chewy piece. It came with the “stew” sauce, a very confusing name for what is not really stew but instead a spicy, smoky red pepper dip akin to romesco. The steak itself was not terribly hot-spicy, but very spice-spicy. Pictured here is the regular size, which was plenty for two people to split.
I also ordered a platter, which was composed of half grilled chicken, half salmon, along with two sides of my choice (in this case, plantains and spinach). It also came with a small container of stew sauce. The salmon was absolutely perfectly moist, which was a surprise for food we ate out of a box. It was not a huge piece, but together with three small pieces of chicken (juicy meat, crisp skin) and the two sides, it would have been the perfect size for a one-person meal. The spinach had a hint of smoke, and the plantains balanced well between the starchy and sticky-sweet. I had ordered two of their extra sauces too–the honey and the BBQ. The BBQ was a fairly standard ketchup-based sauce that could have paired well with everything but masked the other flavors of this delicious meal. The honey sauce, on the other hand, was a good match for the salmon in particular, as well as the chicken–a good mix of sweet and hot.
I went a little crazy and ordered the $3 plain puff puff, which I’ve heard of and had homemade (shoutout to my wonderful former student now working as a chef, Fatimata!) but never eaten from a restaurant. If you want a soft, fluffy beignet, check this out. Plus, six pieces split between the two of us wasn’t a diet-breaker. I dipped the last one in the honey sauce.
All in all, Spice Kitchen was fantastic and a welcome addition to the neighborhood. My only wish is that they can expand their menu, especially veggies and sides, while still keeping it real.
Price: $20 per person.
Bottom line: I’m happy to have this place around for so many reasons–proximity, variety, but most of all something both different and delicious!