Somali Dining at Blue Star Café
Cozy East Side spot features the cuisine of East Africa
Blue Star Café is an excellent place to grab a quick bite either for carryout or dining in on the eastern edge of the East Side. Specializing in Somali cuisine, it offers affordable and delicious options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike.
I started my meal with a chicken sambusa ($1.50). I could easily eat a whole meal of these; soft crust engulfed shredded chicken, peas, carrots and corn in a steamy, flaky package. The veggie sambusa ($1.50) packs onions, corn, spinach and carrots into the crust, which reminded me of filo dough in its soft, yielding texture. Their sambusa are a perfect appetizer.
I moved on to a second course with a bowl of their goat murak ($2.75), a very straightforward soup with broth and chunks of goat. The goat was absurdly tender and the broth was addictive. It might be Milwaukee’s best soup; it’s certainly in the top five.
Full disclosure: Any time I see “our famous” on a menu, I tend to order that thing, both as a reviewer and a patron. I like to know what dishes a restaurant prides itself on uniquely, and so it was without hesitation that I ordered their tender beef sandwich ($5.99), which puts all corporate sandwich chains to shame. Served on an eight-inch French roll, the sandwich features a healthy crunch from lightly sautéed green peppers and shredded lettuce and a creamy texture and flavor from the mayonnaise, but the real star of the show is the tender beef—it’s juicy and rich with umami. The sandwich is also excellently designed, with beef and green pepper on one side and tomato and lettuce on the other; I chose to eat it almost like a burrito, taking one small bite out of each side in order to commingle all the textures and flavors. It’s a damn good sandwich.
Blue Star also offers platters ($9), which put your choice of meat or vegetables atop rice, pasta or salad. The veggie platter featured potato, onion, raisin, spinach and corn. The platters are absurdly filling. I recommend the rice for the choice of bed—it’s lightly spiced and has an excellent, hearty flavor.
Blue Star Café is a cozy spot, with only six tables, but it’s not to be overlooked.
Blue Star Café
1619 N. Farwell Ave.
Handicapped access: Yes