With New York African Restaurant Week on the horizon and just a couple hot months before piri piri (African bird’s eye chili) is in season, there’s no better time to brush up on the difference between Congolese ugali and Togolese koliko. Next Wednesday, join Peace Corps alum Mitch Bloom and Edible at the Brooklyn Brewery from 6:00—9:00 p.m. for a family style dinner with Woézõ. Tickets are $40 and include all food and select beer from the brewery (see the full menu here).
Woézõ, a Smorgasburg hit and soon-to-be Bed Stuy restaurant, serves up Togolese-inspired cuisine with a few concessions made for the Brooklyn palate. While Bloom acknowledges that hot peppers are essential in West African cooking, “I want to be sensitive to how much people actually want,” he says. His homemade sriracha allows you to control your own heat level, whether it be a dainty dollop next to your white yam fries or a generous smothering on your ginger-stewed okra and onions.
While Wednesday’s menu has traveled thousands of miles, Woézõ’s sourcing is decidedly local. Bloom wrote his NYU masters thesis on maximizing ingredients from regional farms, and he purchases much of his produce from Hudson Valley Harvest. He also fondly remembers half a dozen beers brewed and distributed within Togo, but drink pairings for the event will come from Brooklyn Brewery.
Bloom donates 10 percent of Woézõ’s profits to Pathways Togo, an organization that provides scholarships and educational support for Togolese women. Keep an eye out for their brick-and-mortar restaurant opening soon, where Bloom promises to bring back some of the dishes from his Peace Corps years that haven’t yet been adapted at Smorgasburg or his supper clubs. Maybe someday they’ll start bottling that homemade sriracha.