Nigeria: Bolat

3346 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

Bolat has been around for awhile, but the the slick redesign is much newer. The walls are a rich red and brown and there is an oversized mural on each wall, very different from the simple stark mom-and-pop restaurants that are the familiar faces of international food in Chicago. Located in Lakeview, Bolat features Nigerian, Kenyan and some popular-pan African dishes. Our waitress suggested that we each should order 2-3 dishes, but we think she  may have undersold the size of the dishes…. If we had followed her advice – I think we would have each had enough food for the week. For the three of us, we ordered 3 entrees and 2 appetizers.

We started out with Fried plantain with peanut sauce ($6) and Fried yuca with 3 sauces ($10). The fried plantain was amazing, and yuca tasted like a particularly starchy version of french fries. For our entrees we chose Peanut Soup over fufu with fish ($12), Yellow Goat Curry ($16 – with a little kick of heat) and Jolloff rice with goat ($18). Jolloff rice, made with onions and tomato, is a standard go-to order to gauge how good a west African restaurant is. The Jolloff rice we sampled at Bolat was excellent, and we were very pleased.

We also sampled an interesting dessert – a very strong hibiscus cordial – kind of like a beefed up Jamaica. There had been some complaints about the painfully slow service, but we found it to be perfectly pleasant, though it should also be noted that we were not in any sort of rush. Though it is a little pricey, Bolat is a good place to explore West African food in Chicago, and newbies will be tempted by the convenient location.

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