Unless the goal is to titillate or to shock, Nigerian goat head needn't look like goat head. The tidbits in our wooden mortar of isi ewu ($13) were largely disguised by a murky brown sauce, and the aroma that wafted above it merely hinted at a complex brew of "traditional Igbo spices." The chef-owner, who is Yoruba, told us that she took pains to learn this recipe from an older Igbo (Ee-bow) woman. I can't speak for her adherence to tradition, only for her isi ewu's ability to quicken our appetites.
The seemingly dear price of panla, or Norwegian stock fish ($22), is explained partly by our request for a second pounded-yam fufu (not shown) and partly by our indecision regarding the sauces. The tomato-based veil is added as a matter of course; we sampled several others that puddled around it, including an exceptionally mucilaginous (but delicious) okra. The panla itself is not the "black" stock fish, the chef noted, whose sometimes acrid smell might greet you in certain markets, but a more expensive "white" grade. Longer-than-usual soaking removes any last traces of unwanted fishiness as the flesh, which dries hard during the curing process, is rendered soft — almost everything on the plate, including the remaining cartilage and bones, was edible.
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