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Pink's Cafe Afrikiko, Chef Ivy Nornoo's Ghanese Cafe in Middlebrook Village Shopping Center, Germantown - Closed


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After reading Tim Carman's review of Pinks Cafe Afrikoko, my appetite and curiosity were whetted and I just had to try this place. It's tucked away in a small strip mall in Germantown, just a few minutes from my office. I went there, ordered three dishes, and came away thinking that someone had pulled a fast one on me.

I ordered the chicken kebab ($5) to eat in while waiting for my take out orders. For $5, I figured I'd be getting a nice, lunch portion of something. What I got was two skewers of tough chicken that had been covered with a tomato based sauce and sprinkled with a dusting of spices. Nothing else. The chicken tasted like it had precooked and then popped in the microwave (what was that *bing* noise I heard just a minute before my meal was brought out to me?). There was no way the chicken had actually been cooked IN the sauce. Rather, it was just poured on. The sauce was blander than what I had imagined. The pieces of meat that were dusted with the spices didn't taste discernibly different from those that weren't. On top of that, I began to feel nauseous within 15 minutes of finishing and spent the next few hours in and out of the commode.

For take out, I essentially ordered what I hoped would be enough for a nice dinner for two. I got a steamed vegetable stew ($7 - the menu said "with banku or rice") and then a beef and rice dish ($10). I was a little surprised to find that they had charged me an extra $3 for the banku (what DOES it mean when it says the dish is served WITH an item?). Oh, well...whatever.

Got home to find out the vegetable dish was....frozen mixed vegetables (you can't mistake those machine cut veggies for anything else). They had been steamed and given the once over with a pepper grinder. For $7??? WTF?

The one and only saving dish was the beef and rice dish (go figure - it's the one thing I can't remember the name of). While it was a little oily and the heat came predominantly from black pepper, the meat itself was very tender and the sauce had a flavour. It was great to dip some of the banku in the sauce.

So - I (think I) got overcharged, got a bit sick, and went one for three on the meals. And yet, I'll still give them one more shot, seeing as how Carman was so positive on it. Maybe they knew he was a food writer and helped them with their decisions. I can't feel that we just didn't get our money's worth.

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After reading Tim Carman's review of Pinks Cafe Afrikoko, my appetite and curiosity were whetted and I just had to try this place. It's tucked away in a small strip mall in Germantown, just a few minutes from my office. I went there, ordered three dishes, and came away thinking that someone had pulled a fast one on me.

I ordered the chicken kebab ($5) to eat in while waiting for my take out orders. For $5, I figured I'd be getting a nice, lunch portion of something. What I got was two skewers of tough chicken that had been covered with a tomato based sauce and sprinkled with a dusting of spices. Nothing else. The chicken tasted like it had precooked and then popped in the microwave (what was that *bing* noise I heard just a minute before my meal was brought out to me?). There was no way the chicken had actually been cooked IN the sauce. Rather, it was just poured on. The sauce was blander than what I had imagined. The pieces of meat that were dusted with the spices didn't taste discernibly different from those that weren't. On top of that, I began to feel nauseous within 15 minutes of finishing and spent the next few hours in and out of the commode.

For take out, I essentially ordered what I hoped would be enough for a nice dinner for two. I got a steamed vegetable stew ($7 - the menu said "with banku or rice") and then a beef and rice dish ($10). I was a little surprised to find that they had charged me an extra $3 for the banku (what DOES it mean when it says the dish is served WITH an item?). Oh, well...whatever.

Got home to find out the vegetable dish was....frozen mixed vegetables (you can't mistake those machine cut veggies for anything else). They had been steamed and given the once over with a pepper grinder. For $7??? WTF?

The one and only saving dish was the beef and rice dish (go figure - it's the one thing I can't remember the name of). While it was a little oily and the heat came predominantly from black pepper, the meat itself was very tender and the sauce had a flavour. It was great to dip some of the banku in the sauce.

So - I (think I) got overcharged, got a bit sick, and went one for three on the meals. And yet, I'll still give them one more shot, seeing as how Carman was so positive on it. Maybe they knew he was a food writer and helped them with their decisions. I can't feel that we just didn't get our money's worth.

Xcanuck;

I feel I owe you a refund--or at least some Tums. I have to admit that the danger of writing about places like Pinks--particularly in my irregular Dishing Expedition feature, when I sample only a small handful dishes--is that many other dishes may suck. The owner/chef did help me navigate through the menu, but not because I was a critic but because I asked. I feared that some of the other items may not compete with the peanut butter soup and the egusi stew. I can really only vouch for those and half-heartedly endorse the curry chicken. But I have to say, half the enjoyment of Pinks is eating there and talking to the owners and the customers. No one will let you eat in peace there, which is kind of nice.

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After reading Tim Carman's review of Pinks Cafe Afrikoko, my appetite and curiosity were whetted and I just had to try this place. It's tucked away in a small strip mall in Germantown, just a few minutes from my office. I went there, ordered three dishes, and came away thinking that someone had pulled a fast one on me.

So disappointing. I still may check it out though, if I'm ever in Germantown (actually I'm embarrassed to admit I'm not even sure where that is). With the number of Ghanaians in the region it seems like we should have more places to get some decent tilapia with kenkey, nkate kwan, omo tuo and fufu. I would do just about anything for even mediocre kelewele. Going all the way to Accra to get my fix is a little pricey.

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Xcanuck;

I feel I owe you a refund--or at least some Tums. I have to admit that the danger of writing about places like Pinks--particularly in my irregular Dishing Expedition feature, when I sample only a small handful dishes--is that many other dishes may suck. The owner/chef did help me navigate through the menu, but not because I was a critic but because I asked. I feared that some of the other items may not compete with the peanut butter soup and the egusi stew. I can really only vouch for those and half-heartedly endorse the curry chicken. But I have to say, half the enjoyment of Pinks is eating there and talking to the owners and the customers. No one will let you eat in peace there, which is kind of nice.

Heh....not Tums, but Immodium if you get my meaning biggrin.gif

The veggies didn't exactly suck - it's just that they were obviously frozen mixed veg that tasted like they had been steamed and spiced up with a little pepper and maybe a pat of butter. At $7, I expected more (and certainly not to pay $3 for the banku). As for the kebab....never again.

But my wife couldn't stop raving over the rice and beef dish (so much so that I think I got two spoons of it before she claimed ownership). I made the mistake of not engaging the owner in any discussion and just ordering what "looked good". My bad. I'll go in there again and try to get more direction from them.

Dave - you should DEFINITELY try it out. As a matter of fact, I think the RPLC should check it out one day for a group lunch.

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