Friday at noon found me driving aimlessly around the Warr Acres/Bethany area in search of lunch. I wanted something different, but something reasonably healthy.
I wandered in my SUV south down MacArthur Boulevard and glanced from left to right when something caught my eye. Mama Sinmi’s Chop House -West African Cuisine? What is this? I yanked my steering wheel to the left and drove in.
I’d been next door to Queen of Sheba but while Sheba is based on Eastern (Ethiopian) African cuisine, Mama Sinmi’s is more Western African as can be seen highlighted on the giant mural painted on the wall inside.
Andrew and Ijeoma Popoola opened this Nigerean based cuisine house with thoughts in mind of their native eats. They use mostly healthy all natural ingredients and spice things up quite nicely. My lips burned for a full 30 minutes after I left. It was a good burn.
The space is small with only 7 or 8 tables and when I walked in, there was a group of (obviously) regulars having a birthday party of sorts at two tables that had been pushed together. “Mama” Ijeoma was chatting with them as if they were old friends as I stepped up to the counter. My kind of place, I thought…small, friendly and fun.
She made me feel right at ease and her recommendation for me to try was the daily special – the fried rice with Chicken and Plantains.
This tasty dish was rice stir fried with peas, red and green peppers, corn and I believe some turmeric (thus the yellow coloring) and it was spicy and made my mouth instantly burn so I quickly popped one of the fried sweet plantains into my mouth to counteract the heat. Mama Sinmi’s uses scotch bonnet peppers in their cuisine and so, therefore, expect a bit of heat. Both rice and plantains were delicious. I’m sure if you asked, they could tone it down for you if you’re a spice weenie so just ask…
The chicken fell apart when I bit into it and was absolutely wonderful. I made mental note that I need to come back and try each daily special (offered daily between 12 and 3, your choice of rice and chicken or beef with either a side of fried plantain or small bean-cake and a free drink for $8.50).
Other items on the menu I want to try – the Suya appetizer (strips of tender beef marinated and grilled to perfection, served like a kabob).
The Goat Meat Pepper Soup, the FuFu (the boiling of your choice of starchy vegetable like yam or casava, beaten and shaped into balls) with Egusi (a spicy brothed soup made with spinach and wild mango seeds. The FuFu dishes are traditionally eaten by pinching off a piece of the Fufu and dipping it into the soup you’re eating.
I will probably update this after I’ve visited Mama’s a few times, but for now, I want this place to stay in business so I encourage you to go check it out!
Need a map to Mama Sinmi’s? Here you go!
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