In our preview last week, I shared that I was looking forward to dining at the Urbana Zambian restaurant for a number of reasons, but mostly for the beignets. Last weekend, my husband and I met some friends for dinner to take advantage of the RW specials and get our hands on some beignets. It was cold and gross outside, and the warm and welcoming restaurant was a lovely antidote.


Image: A poster that says Champaign County Area Restaurant Week 2020 at the top. The remainder details the available menu options at the Stango Cuisine during Restaurant Week. Image from Visit Champaign County.Image: A poster that says Champaign County Area Restaurant Week 2020 at the top. The remainder details the available menu options at the Stango Cuisine during Restaurant Week. Image from Visit Champaign County.

There wasn’t much need to look over the menu — I’d already studied the RW menu — so it didn’t take us long to decide. Of the four of us, three ordered off the RW menu: two vegetarian specials and one chicken curry ($19 each). 

Image: Two pyramid-shaped golden brown samosas sit on a round white plate with a stainless steel condiment cup filled with a cilantro dipping sauce. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.Image: Two pyramid-shaped golden brown samosas sit on a round white plate with a stainless steel condiment cup filled with a cilantro dipping sauce. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

The RW menu offered three courses: an appetizer (chicken samosa, veggie samosa, plantains), an entrée, and my beloved beignets. Two of us opted for the veggie samosa, and one for the plantains. The veggie samosa came in a pair, which meant more sharing could be had. They were nicely crisp on the exterior. The potato in the filling was fluffy, and the peas were whole, lending a nice little texture and sweetness to each bite. The plantains were perfectly fried and salted. Most importantly, though, the plantains were the right kind of ripe: not too sweet, not too starchy. The serving was more than enough to share with four people.

Image: Slices of dark golden brown fried plantains sit on a white plate on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.Image: Slices of dark golden brown fried plantains sit on a white plate on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.
Image: A round white plate with a light blue decorative design on the edge contains pinto beans, nshima, and chicken curry. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.Image: A round white plate with a light blue decorative design on the edge contains pinto beans, nshima, and chicken curry. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

My friend ordered the chicken curry with nshima (Zambian bread) and pinto beans. Sure, the plate was lacking some color, but the food was fantastic. It was the right kind of hearty and flavorful meal for a cold and snrainy night (that’s snow and rain, of course).

The vegetarian platter was served with sweet potatoes, nshima, pinto beans, kale, and rice. It was a nice sampler of many of the items Stango offers, and I was glad I didn’t have to decide on one side over another. I most enjoyed mixing in the kale with the other components — mixed together, there was a delightful mix of textures and flavors. The kale was nicely cooked and not at all bitter or slimy.

Image: A vegetarian platter includes yellow rice, pinto beans, sautéed kale, and golden-red sweet potatoes. The plate is an oval shaped and white, with a geometric blue pattern around the edge of the plate. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.Image: A vegetarian platter includes yellow rice, pinto beans, sautéed kale, and golden-red sweet potatoes. The plate is an oval shaped and white, with a geometric blue pattern around the edge of the plate. The plate sits on a black glass table. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

Shortly after we all finished our entrées, our beignets arrived to much fan fare. Each order included two beignets, which I guess is an appropriate amount for one person who has also consumed an appetizer and a big ass plate of tasty food. Those beignets were fluffy and chewy, and the powdered sugar was generously dusted on top. I was not disappointed.

Image: Two rectangular beignets sit on a round, white plate. The beignets are fried and golden brown, and powdered sugar is generously dusted on top. Photo by Jessica Hammie.Image: Two rectangular beignets sit on a round, white plate. The beignets are fried and golden brown, and powdered sugar is generously dusted on top. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

The service at Stango was efficient and friendly. Stango is also offering a nice looking RW lunch menu, which includes omelettes, so perhaps I will revisit for brunch/lunch and more beignets (though the beignets are sadly not included on the lunch menu). If you’ve been looking for a reason to try Stango, Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse.

Stango Cuisine
140 Lincoln Square Mall
Urbana
T-Sa 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Top image: A bird’s eye view of a black glass table with two orange napkin rolls and a Stango Cuisine Restaurant Week menu on cardstock. The cardstock menu sits on top of a Stango Cuisine regular menu. Photo by Jessica Hammie.