While banking on Grant Street yesterday I happened to take a look across the street at Shakti Yoga‘s new diggs. As I was examining the building, another nearby business caught my eye – Somali Star. The Somali Star originally opened where the seasonal Cuchifrito Hut is now located, but it was a short-lived operation partially due to the awkward nature of the stand-like structure. Now Somali Star is enjoying the benefits that come along with their new space.
The exterior of the building is nothing to write home about… especially the top half of the facade that looks like a concrete bunker. But the lower commercial facade has undergone considerable improvement (although there are already a couple tags on either side of the front door). When I walked inside I was quite floored with the unassuming size of the interior. There were a couple of two-tops to the right, a long counter in the back, some cold cases and a really neat alcove seating area by the front window with just enough room for a table and some chairs.
As I was not overly hungry and was in a bit of a hurry, I decided to order a couple of the pastelillos to go. As I waited, I chatted with the two girls behind the counter who expressed their excitement regarding the restaurant’s re-opening and ample space with which to operate. Full of smiles and ‘Thank yous’, they handed me my bag to go and I headed out the door, already knowing that I would be back to snag a seat in the front window nook. Even though I had tried some dishes from their previous location, it was tough to nail down their schedule and there was no place to sit down and eat. How things have changed!
While perusing the menu I took note of a few of the dishes that looked mighty appealing. The limited menu features a fusion of Somalian and Hispanic tastes – like the curry chicken or goat meat (both served with basmati rice and salad). Hispanic food lovers can order the steak and onions or the fried chicken (both served with rice and beans). The Somali Star also prepares fried fish served with home made French fries, relleno de papas, sambusa, tostones, quesitos and home made flan.
When I arrived home I sampled the first pastelillo and was overwhelmed by both the freshness and the mix of ingredients. Thankfully I had also ordered a large parcha (fruit drink) to wash down the food, because as soon as I had downed the first pod I immediately broke out the second. Sometime pastelillos can be too dry and crusty – the ones that I enjoyed yesterday were filled just right and even the end-bites were accompanied with the flavorful innards. There is a vegetarian pastelillo option on the menu as well.
I am already planning my next excursion to the Somali Star when I will sit down and really enjoy the flavor of the restaurant (it has a certain understated Island-charm), not just the food.
139 Grant Street
Buffalo NY 14213
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am to 7pm