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West African restaurant opens on Long Island

Flaky and savory meat pie at The Ellas

Flaky and savory meat pie at The Ellas Taste of Africa in Deer Park. (April, 2013) (Credit: Newsday Joan Reminick)

This has all the earmarks of a Long Island first: a restaurant serving the cuisine of Ghana and West Africa.

The Ellas Taste of Africa, tucked into a laundromat strip mall in Deer Park, offers such dishes as amala (yam balls) with stewed tilapia sauce and plantain fufu (dumplings) with palm nut, peanut and pepper soup. The restaurant is owned by a married couple — Isaac Asare and Gloria Yeboah — who named their new venture for their daughters: Isabella, Gabriella and Daniella. Asare, who is chef, previously cooked at the Huntington Hilton in Melville.

I stopped by, on a recent afternoon and found a neat little place with a steam table counter as well as several tables. Wish there had been proper cutlery instead of plastic forks, spoons and knives, though. Full table service is available, as are cooked-to-order dishes from the menu. A tomato-y spinach stew with jollof rice ($10) had nice, bright flavor.  Even better was a flaky meat pie filled with a highly savory ground beef mixture ($2).

For those who aren’t sure what to order, free tastes, as well as explanations, are eagerly proffered to all newcomers. Burgers and even pizzas are listed in an “American” section of the menu. But it's the dishes like yam with turkey and peppers ($12) and amala with goat head soup ($12) that are not so easy to come by in these parts.

The Ellas Taste of Africa is at 1747 Deer Park Ave., Deer Park, 631-522-1118, nytasteofafrica.com.

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