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Bisi African Restaurant Offers a Taste of Lagos

Kafilat Agaba Kafilat Agaba Photo: Jeff Marini

The spinach was a minor miracle, and not just for its garlicky, spicy juices. It had a firm bite and a fresh, almost buttery flavor — two qualities that don’t often coexist in cooked spinach. When I asked owner Anthony Onu for the secret, he shared that his wife and chef, Kafilat “Bisi” Agaba, has a trick for this leafy vegetable: She blends in collard greens, just enough to add body but not too much assertive flavor.

Whether this is your first experience with Nigerian food or you’re nostalgic for your mom’s cooking back in Lagos, you’ll appreciate the clean flavors of a meal at Bisi. That spinach anchors the egusi ($14), a stew that comes with fufu, a fist-size ball of spongy pounded yam you tear into pieces to absorb the juices of chicken, beef, goat, or fish. Go goat: The two huge slabs of crisp-at-the-edges, tender-at-the-bone meat deliver pure happiness. Similar entrées come with sweet honey beans, chopped okra, or, when available, African bitter leaf.

What else? Try a skewer or two of suya ($2.99), oven-baked beef dusted in lip-tingling spices. And please give the moi moi ($2.99) a try. This warm honey-bean pudding stands as tall as a beer can, wiggles like Jell-O, and tastes like the best bean soup ever.

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