Our final NRT gathering was held at Teranga in the South End in July. It was bittersweet to be ending such a fun tradition. Teranga is a small Senegalese restaurant with a warm and simple décor with exposed brick and simple African artifacts. I had called ahead and told them our group was coming even though they only take reservations for large parties. The owner was quite generous on the phone and said if there was any problem she would call me back. We arrived at our usual 7pm and the tables were set up for two large groups and our only seating option was the bar. This was a bit frustrating but we decided to stay and sit at the bar. After about 15 minutes they broke up the tables and asked us if we wanted to take one, apparently the large party was not coming on time. This was much more comfortable as it was difficult to hear each other across the bar.
The menu is quite heavy with fish and meat. We started with a couple of fish appetizers; the fayata (pastry filled with fish) and poisson croquettes. Both were similar in flavor and served with the same sauce which was disappointing. There was an extremely long lag as we waited for our main dishes. The waitress apologized and gave us another appetizer. The large party, which they had originally saved the table for finally arrived, and were ordering which created the delay.
We finally received our main dishes, which were a bit disappointing. I ordered the national dish of fish and vegetables and barley wheat. The fish itself was overcooked and quite chewy. The barley wheat and the vegetables were tasty and quite satisfying with cassava, eggplant, and carrots among others. The rest of the group had ordered a chicken dish, another fish dish, and a lamb dish. While the others enjoyed their dishes more than me none of them were wowed by them. The combination of flavors and ingredients were quite interesting demonstrating the French and Portuguese influences.
The two large groups that evening lead to an overall disappointing experience for us. The restaurant was extremely loud, the kitchen and staff were not able to handle the food orders leading to long waits and tired diners. I believe that the food could have been much better if not hurried. I do believe this could be a much better experience on a less crowded evening.
1746 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118