With the holidays and threat of snow, I have to say we haven't been out to eat much recently. Luckily January is forcing us back out into the world of wonderful Charlottesville dining, first with just a random Friday night dinner and soon with Restaurant Week! So, here we are with my first restaurant review of 2011, and it's a great one!
Shebeen is your standard pub, except that it's not Irish or English, it's South African. You'll find fish and chips and sandwiches on the menu, but you'll also find things from the braai (grill) and wonderfully seasoned and delicious dishes unique to Africa. The location is nothing special (a strip mall on the backside of Staples, facing MacDonald's near the downtown mall) but they did a lot with the decor inside.
The menu should keep most people happy with the variety on it. For starters we decided to go with the brinjal fries, also known as fried eggplant wedges and a banana "ketchup." The "ketchup" was amazing...a nice cooling effect on a piping hot fry.
For entrees, I opted for something from the braai while my husband went for a slow cooked dish in a
small iron pot. I had the peri-peri shrimp (pepper basted shrimp on skewers...9 of them!) with sides of mealie pap and mixed vegetables. I was a bit worried by the description of the peri-peri sauce, so I asked for the kitchen to go light on it. It was perfect. The mealie pap is described as South African cheese grits. Let's just say that this Southern girl loved the stuff. I would eat it everyday if I could! The vegetabeles were pretty standard but very good. My husband had the lamb curry potjie which was full of spices and flavors. It had a corn muffin with it that seemed to have a creamed-corn effect going on in the middle. Yum!
Overall I would definitely recommend Shebeen if you're looking for something different. Expect it to be crowded, so be open to getting a pint of one of their delicious pints before hand. But mostly, go to try some new flavors and relax!