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Hills Kitchen

Nigerian Bushwick

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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:59 PM

This Nigerian restaurant on Central Avenue in Bushwick is great.

Now I'm not going to go all Robert Sietsema on you and pretend to be an expert on whatever kind of cheap ethnic food I stumble upon. I've had Nigerian food a few times, and this seemed to me to be light years better. In fact, this may well be the best African restaurant food I've ever had. The flavors are very deep; the spice is subtle but there; the flavor combinations just work.

And as embarrassing as it is for someone who's loved Amos Tutuola's books for something like 40 years, this was the first time I've ever drunk palm wine. It's OK.

Did I cringe when the waitress addressed me as "Sah" on the way out? You bet I did.
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#2 Wilfrid

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:32 PM

Worth knowing. Remember how great Samuelsson’s African restaurant was?

#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 01:28 AM

This is different, obviously — but believe it or not I have a feeling I like it better.
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#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 02:54 AM

I should explain:  I think I like Hills Kitchen better because (a) it's more focused, and (b) to really appreciate what the Samuelsson restaurant was doing (much as I liked it anyway), I think you had to have a more extensive knowledge of the African cuisines he was tweaking than I had.  (I say "he", but as I recall, the actual chef was a Swedish woman.)


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#5 Wilfrid

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:24 AM

Outrageous inauthenticity!

#6 Wilfrid

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:27 AM

Just to be meta-critical, you might need knowledge of a specific cuisine to know if it’s being properly executed, or if it’s a good example. But do you need specialist knowledge to know if it’s worth eating?

#7 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:45 AM

Outrageous inauthenticity!

 

I didn't mean to be making any claims of inauthenticity (although I can see it came out reading that way).

 

I just hate it when TV Stars get credit for work that's actually done by working chefs.  I admire that Swedish chef enormously.


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#8 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:47 AM

Just to be meta-critical, you might need knowledge of a specific cuisine to know if it’s being properly executed, or if it’s a good example. But do you need specialist knowledge to know if it’s worth eating?

 

I think what I'm trying to say is that I could tell the food at the Samuelsson restaurant was worth eating.  I liked it a lot.  I just don't think I understood it very well.

 

It's like, I don't know, that ex-Sha-Na-Na guitarist's 1970s hit single "Shannon".  You could know that you enjoy listening to it even if you didn't know it was a straight Beach Boys rip/tribute.  But you'd have sort of been missing the point that way.


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#9 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 05:18 AM

Hills Kitchen was easy for a neophyte like me to understand, OTOH, cuz it just was what it was.


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#10 Steve R.

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:53 PM

 

Just to be meta-critical, you might need knowledge of a specific cuisine to know if it’s being properly executed, or if it’s a good example. But do you need specialist knowledge to know if it’s worth eating?

 

I think what I'm trying to say is that I could tell the food at the Samuelsson restaurant was worth eating.  I liked it a lot.  I just don't think I understood it very well.

 

It's like, I don't know, that ex-Sha-Na-Na guitarist's 1970s hit single "Shannon".  You could know that you enjoy listening to it even if you didn't know it was a straight Beach Boys rip/tribute.  But you'd have sort of been missing the point that way.

 

 

Last things first:  Henry Gross (Sha Na Na/"Shannon") was one year ahead of me at Midwood HS.  Did you know that he was the youngest person (18 at the time) to play on the main stage at Woodstock?

Secondly: I like that you (I think) are saying that "worth eating" follows "I liked it a lot" and that trying to "understand" it is a separate venture.  I think that's what Wilf was getting at and what I want from eating; that is, I want to like the food.  That's what makes it worth eating.  Separately, I'm intellectually curious as to where it comes from, how its done, etc.  And that curiosity isn't confined to foods I like eating, even though I find myself more interested in the context of liking the food.  And, just to make that point more on topic, let me also say that I've never liked Marcus S.'s food so I've never gone back more than once to any of his places.  But I've watched documentaries about him/his life, read articles as well, and am very interested to understand what he does, where it comes from and why he does it.

 

Yep.  I liked "Shannon" as a song.  It was, therefore, worth listening to.  And, it was fun to know about the Beach Boys influence and even more fun to know (barely) the songwriter/singer.  So, I bought the album.  


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#11 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 05:06 PM

Not to mention the follow-up, “Springtime Mama” — even more Beach Boys.
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#12 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 05:07 PM

Who knew he had such a good voice?
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#13 cinghiale

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 07:19 PM

Santana’s drummer appears to be about 16 to me

#14 Sneakeater

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 07:33 PM

I guess what I'm trying to say about the Samuelsson place is that I enjoyed the food A LOT, but (a) I couldn't appreciate (or even discern) the way the chefs were playing with traditional dishes, and (b) I never could know whether I preferred the cheffed-up versions, or if I'd have liked the straight traditional dishes better.

 

So it was enjoyable, very much so (and I was sorry when it closed).  But it wasn't a fully satisfying experience to me.


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#15 Steve R.

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:56 PM

Santana’s drummer appears to be about 16 to me

But you’d be wrong. Michael Shrieve was 20, born 7/6/49. Henry Gross was born 4/1/51 & was still 18. 🤯
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