Thursday, July 9, 2009

Teranga - a taste of Senegal in the South End!

A month or so ago I was reading 'Stuff' magazine and came across an article about 'Teranga', Boston's new and only Senegalese restaurant. The word Teranga, itself, translates to something like 'hospitality' and having gone there yesterday I can certainly attest to the place's hospitable nature!

The restaurant itself is small and decorated with what I might call "modern African" decor. There are perhaps 7 tables for two along the window, another set of 7 or 8 along the side wall, and finally a bar that seats - you guessed it! - perhaps 7 or 8. On a Wednesday night around 7:30 I was pleased to see it was doing well, with two-thirds of the restaurant full. The menu itself is fairly simple, with half a dozen appetizers and a decent number of entrees. To drink they have a number of domestic and international beers, including options from Haiti and New Zealand, wines by both glass and bottle, and several wonderful-sounding fruit juice concoctions with ingredients like hibiscus and orange flower water.

We started with a round of beers - the 'Prestige' American-style lager from Haiti and New Zealand lager 'Steinlager'. Both were nice and light and went well with the Shrimp Brochette we chose as an appetizer. The shrimp came skewered with a number of vegetables including eggplant and onion and were drizzled with a delicious orange sauce. It was reminiscent of Thousand Island dressing looks-wise but less abrasive in its flavor - nice and creamy and not overpowering. The shrimp and vegetables were outstanding and had this incredible smokiness to them.

For my entree I chose the 'Thieboudienne', Senegal's national dish consisting of a white fish, rice, and a smattering of vegetables - carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, and cassava - all in a delicious tomato-based sauce. The fish was very meaty and had an almost salt-cured flavor to it which I enjoyed. I enjoyed the variety of textures and flavors with the vegetables, from the very starchy cassava (in the yucca family) to the soft cooked cabbage.

Chris chose the beef version of our shrimp appetizer - skewers of marinated beef and vegetables with a side of mixed greens and yucca fries. Again the skewers were drizzled with the tasty orange sauce. The beef was perfectly cooked - tender and flavorful with that outstanding smokey flavor. We both had a glass of wine to accompany our main dishes, but the names of them escape me.

We were a bit too full for dessert, instead asking who we presume to be the owner to recommend one of the fruit juices for us. She suggested her favorite, the Bouye juice, whose primary ingredient is I believe juice from the Baobab fruit. The juice was surprisingly white - very rich and creamy and surprisingly reminiscent of melted rainbow sherbet.

Having finished our meal we were thoroughly satisfied. For around $35 I had half an appetizer, a sizeable and delicious main dish, a glass of both beer and wine, plus a wonderful juice to end my experience there. I would highly recommend this new South End establishment to anyone looking for someplace fun and relatively inexpensive to have a meal!

Teranga on Urbanspoon

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