From our review:
African Village is located in a commercially and culturally diverse shopping center at Vance Jackson and Wurzbach. Its neighbors include a donut shop, a bagel outlet, a tamal tienda, a pizza joint and a halal “fashion” store and grocery, among others. I swear that I have reviewed at least two different restaurants in the same location over the years. There is nothing about African Village’s marigold-hued décor that will especially set it apart from any of those; the excitement here is in the food and in the manner of its presentation. Almost everything is served either on or with teff-based injera bread. It’s springy in texture, lacy, slightly sour — and it serves as a kind of spongy spork. Yes, aided by injera, you eat with your fingers. Curry will linger there. Just saying.
By all means order the sambuusa. These tiny dough-encased triangles are similar to Indian samosas, the veggie-stuffed version was jalapeño accented, and the serving of six came with a warm lentil salad that was just as good as the flaky packets. At $2.99, this is the deal of the decade — and it is presented with spoons. Save at least one for later.
Another must-order is the tibis/tibs in its rendition with awazie/awaze, a spice mix using “false” cardamom. The warmly spiced sauce (we asked for it “spicy”) was anything but imitation, however, and the tender cubes of beef it bathed were excellent. We kept going back to this as the metal platter, lined with a full, flat injera, spun round and round.
All other entrées were served atop the injera on that same platter. The lightly curried alicha wot/wat, a beef stew with onion, ginger and garlic, utilized a slightly different cut of less-tender beef. Problematic at first, the dish grew on us as the subtle curry spicing began to more than make up for the chewy beef. Also of the challengingly chewy genre, the drumsticks forming the core of the traditional doro wot at first created a how-to-eat-it dilemma for diners unused to the subtleties of employing injera as a utensil. Problem solved by using that saved spoon to prize the meat from the bone in pieces. The easy-to-eat boiled egg that shared sauce with the chicken prompted one diner to speculate on which came first … In fact, the robust sauce with red onion, black pepper and more of the cardamom came first; it was different enough from the first two to be its own thing, yet similar enough to be family. – Ron Bechtol
Photo by Jessica Elizarraras