Buka, the home of New York's finest Nigerian food (according to a one prominent review) is a true gem. Located amongst the cluster of bars and restaurants off of Fulton Street in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, Buka, quietly, beckons adventurous visitors from beneath her coy green awning.
Nigerian food? When it comes to ethnic cuisine, Nigerian is still not a very common occurrence, even in New York. Buka is changing this. On any given day, you will find Nigerian nationals gathering for a meal reminiscent of home, but you'll also find a slew of adventurous Brooklynites, who have made space in their palates for this new cuisine.
Entering through the seamlessly cool bar, Buka looks more like an art gallery with its polished wood floors, flawless brick walls and colorful framed paintings and masks. The furniture is eclectic, one part antique thrift shop, one part global bazaar. You'll spot hipsters and young professionals enjoying happy hour, taking in the exotic mixed drink flavors (think heavenly hibiscus and orange blossom) or bopping their heads to whatever live entertainment is on the roster for the evening.
As you make your way toward the restaurant seating in the back, you'll spot families with young children, couples enjoying a date night, local Brooklynites and Nigerian expatriates, hunched over their tables, taking in the savors and flavors of Nigerian cuisine.
What is Nigerian cuisine? It's so many things. There are definitely some things I'm not quite adventurous enough to try (cow feet, goat head...yeah, no thank you), but I do have my favorites (jollof rice, plantains, pepper soup). Dishes generally range from chicken and jollof rice (a spicy rice blend with a fabulous red sauce made of peppers and tomato), pepper soup (a spicy, hefty soup that comes with your choice of meat), tomato based stews, snapper, tilapia, goat, beef, large West African land snails, you can find traditional fufu, side dishes of beans, greens and sweet plantains, or you can help yourself to some yam fries and palm wine or beer at the bar just to name a few. The food is fresh, the flavors succulent and almost everything is spicy (be warned...).
In addition to great food, Buka has regular live music and entertainment. My favorite group is Mark and the Corner Pocket and it's not just because Mark is my husband (although I am biased).
You can find Buka at 946 Fulton St (between Grand and St. James) in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn.
If you find yourself in Brooklyn, you've got to stop on by!