Given that real bloggers like Sligo from Silver Spring Singular recently had a longer than usual spell between posts, I don't feel as bad since it's been more than 2 weeks since my last entry. However, I am afraid that the few readers I had, might have gone on to more reliable blogs about the SS dining scene. But if any remain, you have my pledge to eat out more and write about it.
So anyway, my partner and I trekked back to the Roger Miller Restaurant at 941 Bonifant St (right across from Mandalay) over the weekend to give their dishes another try. It had been many years since our previous visit and I knew we were way overdue to give it another chance. I shouldn't let one dish of that African classic - fu fu - scare me off for good.
And I am quite glad we gave it another try. While it was too rainy to sit on their deck, we went early enough to secure one of the few tables they have inside. As expected, the TV was going strong with francophile African music videos. When walking into Roger Miller you can quickly forget you're still in SoCo.
The place itself is named after a famous Cameroonian footballer. Miller was a star player in the country and was called one of the 125 best footballers ever by Pele a few years ago. And you can be sure that when the African Cup is happening - and other matches too - Roger Miller is a lively spot to watch the games. When Cameroon was in the finals last year, it was SRO inside and there must have been 50 folks out on the patio trying to crowd next to the window to see the TV in the back.
The menu is quite varied with a mix of meat, fish and vegetarian entrees and starters. In addition, the prices are more reasonable than I remembered. One of our starters, fried plantains, only went for $2.50 per order and it was not a small portion. They were quite good too. While we were hoping to try a second appetizer called Moi Moi (ground black eyes peas), they unfortunately did not have that dish. But we were happy with a dish of fried spicy shrimp. And be forewarned, watch out for the hot sauce. It is smokin! It was served with both the plantains and shrimp. And like Brylcreem, a little dab will do ya.
Actually, most of the Brylcreem jingle could fit this hot sauce - well maybe not the last 2 lines. If you'll indulge me, here's the jingle: Bryl-creem, a little dab'll do ya, Use more, only if you dare, But watch out, The gals will all pursue ya,-- They'll love to put their fingers through your hair.
And if you have another minute, do yourself a favor and watch this old commercial for Brylcreem. As Fenwick, from the classic film Diner would say - a definite smile.
And if anyone knows where I can purchase this magical product, please respond. I mean, wow! All right, I guess I went off on the Brylcreem tangent long enough - back to our story.
On the entree side, the prices remain low. Almost everything is less than $10 except for a few of the seafood dishes. The fish dishes are well done and pretty simple, and although we didn't order it, the grilled veggie platter looked fab. In addition, there are several traditional dishes on the menu which need explanation by the staff - that is if you are not familiar with West African cuisine. I look forward to going back and being a bit more adventurous - maybe trying the Bongo Chuei or the grilled tofu. I'll leave the goat for others to try and comment on.
The staff (all two of them) were courteous and friendly. French is the dominant language; but don't worry, English comes out quickly if your high school francais has faded. The place is not fancy however; it actually fits into that stretch of Bonifant well. And Roger Miller is a family run operation in business now going on nine years. And for west Africans moving to the states, it's really more than a restaurant. From what I understand emigres who make their way to Roger Miller can find help as they try to situate themselves into a new country.
If you haven't been I would recommend giving it a try. But don't be surprised if it's full and you can't get a table. The good thing is you're right next door to Thai Derm, across the street from Mandalay and just down the block from the Q House. You won't go home hungry.