Restaurant Review: Little Unicoco

This summer I checked up a Nigerian cuisine restaurant called Little Unicoco in the Uptown/Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago right by the Howard Red Line stop. 

Little Unicoco is owned by Nigerian Obi Nwazota who was trained as an architect at the University of Illinois. According to an interview with Fooditor., Obi is not a chef but hired a staff to prepare traditional Nigerian cuisine with a new school twist. Little Unicoco is named after a famous hotel and concert hall native to Nigeria. 

While perusing around Little Unicoco, one thing in particular that stood out to me was the contemporary, modern architecture and furniture. In some African and Nigerian restaurants I've been to, the interior design is decked with beautiful wooden chairs and tables topped with cloth, a vase of flowers in the middle, and African masks and paintings on the wall. There's nothing wrong with that and it's no comparison party either. I noted this because I wanted to point out how Nwazota stepped out the box of traditional Nigerian restaurants with his obvious artistic skills and architectural vision. Even the plates and the "New Market" menu's format were visibly displayed the contemporary, minimalist theme of the restaurant. 

There are two sides to the restaurant; one side is a cafe and the other the main dining area. Similar to Karyn's, Nwazota even has a refrigerated section with take home containers of jollof rice and other mini dishes suitable for at-home dinner or work lunch. 

Little Unicoco carries your traditional Nigerian faves like fufu, egusi soup, moin moin and suya. For us vegetarian and vegan folk, there are even options on the menu that cater to those diets. For an appetizer, I started off with the akara, which are deep fried balls of black beans with a side of savory sauce with a spiciness to it. So far, I think this was my favorite dish here, hands down.

And of course, plantains are a must whenever I'm feasting on Caribbean or African cuisine. 

For my main dish, I had the jollof rice garnished with thin cut radish slices, and green bell peppers. The jollof rice wasn't as spicy as I expected it to be, but scrumptious nonetheless. I didn't eat the chicken that came with it since meat and I are not on good terms right now.

Next time I return to Little Unicoco, I wan to try out the "Soup Flight" and the "White Rice & Nigerian Stew" dish. I'm looking forward to see how Little Unicoco progresses with these scrumptious Nigerian dishes. 

Little Unicoco is located at 1631 W. Howard open daily from 5pm-10pm Tuesday-Thursday, 12pm-10pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-7pm Sunday 773-764-2626

Source: The Fooditor Guide to Nigerian Cuisine at Little Unicoco



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