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The Early Word on Radio Africa & Kitchen in Bayview

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Eskender Aseged, chef and founder of Radio Africa & Kitchen, has been serving his unique blend of Mediterranean, African and Californian cuisine as a pop-up for over seven years. When he fled his native Ethiopia at age 19, he never imagined he would own a restaurant in the United States. Now that he has a one-month-old permanent location in Bayview, Aseged continues to cook up Ethiopia-inspired dishes using local and sustainable ingredients. To the early word, to see what people have to say about it.

The Vegetable News: According to Janny Hu at SF Gate, “Aseged's take on the mild Vegetable Alicha is as vibrant and pretty as a salad gets. Featuring crisp green beans, purple cabbage, carrots and turmeric-infused potatoes, it's a rainbow of colors and textures, all tossed in what amounts to a curry vinaigrette.” Quesada Gardens Initiative’s [QGI] Elizabeth Skow is a fan of the mushroom crostini, which with “English peas, Manchengo cheese and basil was rich and crunchy, while remaining fresh and light.”

The Fusion News: SF Station’s Keith Mizuguchi reassures fans of the pop-up that they can “expect the same type of menu, expect [sic] a bit more expansive.” Tasting Table notes, “a recent favorite was a stir-fry of juicy slices of chicken breast, Swiss chard and okra, fragrant with cardamom and accompanied by nutty basmati rice” and Hu at SF Gate is fond of the traditional spicy berbere “and the even hotter mitmita” made with “about a dozen spices - peppercorns, chile powders like paprika and cayenne, and sweet spices like cinnamon - whose sum is greater than their individual parts.”

The Tartare News: “Raw tuna kitfo proved to be a standout with its dab of crème fraiche and peppery arugula leaves,” writes Skow at QGI. SF Gate explains that “Instead of mincing raw beef with clarified butter and sweet spices, Aseged combines tuna with mitmita and green olive oil. Blair Warsham, who worked with Aseged at Campton Place, calls the tartare a game-changer in a tired genre.”

The Neighbourhood News: Bayview is a trek for some. “It was surprising to see so many people out in one place in Bayview, a place where restaurants seem to have trouble staying afloat,” writes QGI. Jake B on Yelp writes, “I would probably give this place 3 stars if it were more conveniently located. Fact of the matter is that this place is in the ghetto.” Bayview inhabitants, like Yelp user DeathandFood b assures, “I’ve lived in a nearby neighborhood for decades and have never worried about safety in this neighborhood.”

The Redev News: SF Weekly’s Erin Browner reports that “Aseged has been working to improve the Bayview neighborhood for years, organizing nonprofits and volunteering to work on this community garden long before his restaurant opened.” D10 Watch hopes this will lead other businesses to “take a chance on the Third St corridor as a viable place to do business.” Inspired by the area, Tablehopper writes that “[Aseged] also wants to reflect the local neighborhood and plans to add dishes that include oxtail and black-eyed peas.”

The Communal News: Shared tables make it so guests eat together family style. “Aseged is encouraging guests to socialize outside their own bubble and befriend their neighbors; he believes guests will have more fun this way, especially if they come alone,” Browner at SF Weekly writes. Naomi K. on Yelp reviews that the “several communal table make this an ideal spot for large groups.” Inside Scoop reports that “The restaurant, designed by Shatara Architects (Bi-Rite, Oola, Local), will seat about 55.”

The Beverage News: They don’t have a beer and wine license yet, so “guests are encouraged to bring wine or beer with them. No corkage fee.” QGI informs. But the non-alcoholic beverages are standout. Tasting Table writes that “Cardamom is one of the many spices that give Radio Africa's milky chai its signature kick...a mug of this is a fitting conclusion to a meal.”
—Chloe Schildhause

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Radio Africa & Kitchen

4800 Third St., San Francisco, CA