NOTE: This place is now closed
Braai means BBQ in Afrikaans. And South African food is something I’ve never had before. So naturally I had to try this joint. I walked by this a few times and the menu looked really good. So tonight my wife and I gave it a try.
First some cocktails: a bourbon julep and some South African wine. It’s important to note here that they also offer Tusker beer, from Kenya, which I like very much.
Braai has a bunch of tapas for $9 each, or you can man the fuck up and get five for $42 and save a few bucks. That’s what we did.
Top left is sausage, polenta (pap) and tomato. It had a nice pork and beef flavor to it, with a little spicy kick.
Center was deviled chicken liver. I was expecting something whipped and spreadable for some reason, and spicy. These were some more traditional styled liver items… cut up and sautéed in a hearty sauce. Very iron flavored but not grainy or snappy at all.
Top right: meatballs with tomato sauce. The sauce was tangy, and the meatballs were spicy and tender.
Bottom right was fried chicken wings with peri-peri sauce. The wings were crispy and nicely battered, and the sauce was spicy and herbaceous – almost like a salsa. Very nice. I was putting it on everything!
Bottom left was grilled octopus. This had less of a char flavor than I expected, but it was very tender.
At this point we were pretty full, but we kept pushing on. We ordered the ribs (ribbetjies); baby back ribs with a rooibos chocolate glaze (a legume, often used in teas), sautéed spinach and creamy polenta.
This was really good. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the sauce was sweet with a little spice to it at the end, and some depth.
We had to try dessert, seeing as though this is one of the only places that doesn’t just offer creme brûlée, tira misu and cheesecake (though they do have cheesecake). Love those when they are good, but come on! Anyway this place gets it. We ordered something called “koeksisters,” which is pretty much thin, braided fried doughnuts or funnel cake with ice cream and honey on top. Awesome.
329 W. 51st St.
Hell’s Kitchen, NY 10018