Last Friday I had the joy of dining at Afro Deli, a bright little gem in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. (There’s also a St. Paul location, but if you’re still in St. Paul after 5 on a Friday you’re doing it wrong.)
Yelp reviews made it clear that I had to try both the Somali Steak Sandwich and the made-to-order sambusas, so that’s what I ordered. The sandwich was fantastic: super thinly sliced steak, vegetables, and cheese on focaccia. The mix of grilled onions and peppers with fresh tomato and lettuce created a nice balance, and the meat was slightly spicy but not overwhelmingly so. It was also that perfect size where you can definitely eat the whole thing, but could also opt to save half for later and be adequately full either way.
The sambusas were also impeccable. I opted for beef filling, which was fabulously seasoned. They were fried to a perfect golden brown crispiness and were an excellent vehicle for the spicy dipping sauce called basbaas that accompanied them. In fact, after finishing the sambusas I wished I had ordered more of them or a side of fries so I would have had more items to dip into my leftover sauce! I did some research on basbaas sauce and found a recipe here that I can’t wait to try.
In addition to the delicious food, they have a huge patio for dining al fresco. And, if that wasn’t enough, it’s also ridiculously inexpensive. But wait, there’s more: Afro Deli is also a social venture – started with support from an investment by the African Development Center of Minnesota, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering African immigrants in Minnesota, they now split profits with ADC. So do your taste buds and your community a favor and make your way over to Afro Deli. Their fries were also fantastic.