Palace Gate Restaurant
Several years ago some friends and I had stumbled upon a Ghanaian restaurant on Chicago’s North Side and it had left a lasting impression on me. Time has passed and I had not been to that exact part of the city since. A few months ago when I was in Washington, DC, on assignment, I had chance to visit a Ghanaian restaurant there and loved it so much that the Chicago eatery had come to mind. Well, I decided that it was time I returned to the Chicago restaurant to recapture a bit of the satisfaction that I had on my first visit a few years past. Located at 4548 N. Magnolia Avenue is Palace Gate Restaurant, which perhaps is the most authentic Ghanaian restaurant in the Chicago metropolitan area. Small yet with enough tables for seating and beautiful music blaring in Ashante Twi in the background, I entered to be greeted with Etesaine, of which my reply was Me hoye and then I was ready for food action.
Palace Gate Restaurant has menu items that come as sets of food. There really is no ala carte unless you are adding something extra like jolloff rice or plantains. I ordered one of my favourite Ghanaian dishes — waakye with fish. The rice and beans had a kick to them that I loved, as opposed to the mild flavouring that you get in some Ghanaian restaurants because they are pandering to a milder palate. But Palace Gate Restaurant apparently honours the way food is prepared “back home.” I ordered the fish fried and let me just say that if you order the fish, be prepared to deal with the many bones that will be in it. Accustomed to bones in whole fish, I had no problem getting all of the meat without having a bone give me fits. Also with the waakye was spaghetti with what I call Ghanaian red sauce. This opened my nasal passages — a true indicator that I was eating authentic like what I have had in Accra, Cape Coast, and in Kumasi.
As this was lunch, I was not in my rather extensive mode of gobbling several menu items. Unlike times when I take public transportation and have a bit of time to walk off some of the comatose feeling from eating too much, I had driven. In Chicago traffic, you have to be alert, so overeating to the point of food slumber was not an option. I paid the small tab for the colossal plate of food and the bottled water that I had. After some conversation with the cook about where I could find some frofrot in the city — because you have no idea what love is until you have had some frofrot, which are Ghanaian doughnuts — I was on my way home to deal with a rather exotic dessert that I had prepared. Balsamic strawberry ice cream. Once I was done gobbling a bowl of that eclectic frozen dessert, I then succumbed to a moment of haze and stumbled to my bed where I slept for a few hours. What a life.