I was wandering down Eat Street rather aimlessly, trying to decide on a place to have lunch, and I stuck my head into Daalo Grill, a new East African restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Noodle Bowl. A quick glance at the menu revealed a pretty standard menu of Somali fare – chicken, goat, spaghetti – at higher-than-usual prices – most entrees were $11, though there were some less expensive sandwich choices. I was about to walk out again when a departing customer launched into a sales pitch. You’re going to love it! You’re going to be surprised!
So I seated myself at the counter, and prepared to be surprised. I expected to be asked to choose an entree, but instead, the chef chose for me. First came a very standard lettuce salad, with my choice of ranch or Italian dressing. Then came a very typical Somali plate of rice pilaf, with a sizable slab of roast meat. Goat meat, the chef informed me. Almost apologetically, he added a ripe banana to the plate, explaining something about Somalis having strange customs, and eating bananas with their dinners was one of them.
I almost never order goat meat, partly because I like goats – they have very engaging personalities. But mostly because whenever I do order goat – whether in a Mexican restaurant, or an Indian restaurant, or anywhere else, I get something that is mostly bone, with a few stringy bits of meat attached.This was different. This was a solid chunk of very tender meat, flavorful but not gamey.
If you have never had Somali cuisine before, or never had goat, or both, Daalo Grill is definitely worth a try. Service is friendly, and the place is spotless.
P.S. Check back tomorrow for another mini-review. I have a whole backlog of deals and discoveries that I haven’t had time to write up – so I’m planning to dish them up daily until I run out. (We’ll see how long that lasts.)