Eskender Aseged has worked in other people's kitchens for a long time.
With the opening of his new Bayview restaurant, Radio Africa & Kitchen, he finally has a place to call his own.
A veteran of the pop-up scene, Ethiopian-born Aseged has spent the last four years cooking dinners at Coffee Bar, at Velo Rouge and out of his own apartment. His spice-laced food has followed him to the new digs.
Mitmita, a blend of chiles, cardamom and cloves, is sprinkled over slices of rare Albacore tuna ($10). Braised oxtails, the tender meat clinging to knobby bones, is given the North African treatment--flavored with cinnamon and dried apricots and served over couscous ($18). The lamb duo, including both sliced roasted leg and braised shoulder, is topped with chermoula ($18).
The menu changes weekly, but 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 ($13).
Cardamom is also one of the many spices that give Radio Africa's milky chai ($3) its signature kick. Though the restaurant will soon have a beer-and-wine license, a mug of this is a fitting conclusion to a meal.
Radio Africa & Kitchen, 4800 Third St. (at Oakdale St.); 415-420-2486 or radioafricakitchen.com