Tuesday, August 07, 2007

African Harambee

We've got a new restaurant open in the neighborhood, African Harambee (7537 N Clark St., 773-764-2200). Hours: Sunday-Thursday: noon-10 p.m. ; Friday-Saturday: noon-11 p.m.

Lorraine Dostal was kind enough to write a review and share it with this blog, so here it is.

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I had dinner with a close friend at African Harambee next door to Amphora (formerly Gateway Bar & Grill) on Clark Street just south of Howard.

Review = Yummy.

Most of the menu seems to be stew-like things - African comfort food - curry and coconut sauces and middle eastern accents....the meat dishes come with beef or chicken or lamb. I love lamb. Lots of seafood presentations too. Ask the servers for advice. The veggie section also seems stew like. We had some of the cabbage and some of the spinach as sides with our entrée choices. Couscous or rice and african flat breads.....the little pepper icons seem to mean "flavorful and exotic" not "hot-hot-hot-wow!" But please check with the server about that matter. (I suggested a veggie sampler plate - for those who can't commit to picking one dish only....the owner seemed receptive....perhaps if there is a popular outcry?) We shared a lamb curry (pepper icon but mild) and a shrimp & tilapia dish in coconut sauce (mild).

We had the "chicken egg rolls" for appetizer - crispy filo-like wrapping around tasty chicken with no "starchy filler," just meat. Dessert was also a crispy filo like wrapping around nuts (cashew/almond) and dried fruit with drizzle of chocolate and berry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream...o yum...perhaps not what your average African family has for dessert but boy was that nice.....

The restaurant is fresh and open and air conditioned....The staff is soft-spoken and gentle and happy to explain what the food is all about. They have a liquor license (just got it ) and expect to have African beers and wines....Entree prices were $10-$12-$15. Not bad. I will go back again and try more different things, like the beef kifto, chicken peanut stew, and more lamb. Yum!

Public announcement - You all know about the rate of "small business failure". This is not just a problem in Rogers Park. It is the nature of the capitalist system. It takes a lot of effort and hard work and up-front $$$$ to just open the front door and say "hello". If the customers don't show up, the business folds. The owner takes a risk and the next thing you know, his money is all gone and the doors are locked. EAT AFRICAN FOOD! Go back again. They open for lunch at noon.

O yes - plenty of parking....you know. There is a very big parking lot.

Support the small independent businesses in Rogers Park - especially beautiful downtown Jargowood and the nearby areas where our close neighbors and friends hope that their corner restaurant/coffee shop/store can make a success....any one can get coffee at Starbucks and dinner at Applebee's or Bennigan's. We have Charmers and (insert local coffee shoppe here) and African Harambee and Amphora and Taste of Peru...and a ton of Thai and Mexican choices...you can eat locally and globally at the same time - what a concept!

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Thanks, Lorraine!

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