Picán Celebrates Black History Month

The Uptown restaurant is serving historically inspired special dishes throughout February.


Executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams

Image courtesy of Picán

February is Black History Month, and Picán's executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams has created a series of $22 a la carte dinner specials to celebrate. 

"I have composed a menu featuring dishes spanning the Black culinary traditions, ingredients, and flavors from Africa to North America over a period of nearly four centuries," says the Brooklyn-born chef, whose past gigs include a stint at Oakland's FuseBox. 

Perfectly complementing the Uptown restaurant's popular Southern-inspired fare, these dishes "are inspired and celebrate the potjie-style preparation of the African windward coast, its move to the Americas and eventual place as a vessel serving as the early soul of the kitchens of the plantation South."

Pronounced "potchee," a potjie is a South African one-pot meal traditionally prepared in a cast-iron cauldron; ingredients are not to be stirred after being placed in the pot. 

"We then trace the impact of the Black experience on southern foodways and the migration north -- then, lastly, the fusion of north and south coming together," Williams explained. 

Feb. 1 - 7 is "Taste of Africa" week; its dinner specials include braised oxtail potjie and spicy curried chicken potjie. 

Feb. 8 - 14 is "Taste of the South" week, with smoked ham hocks and Southern-style chicken-fried steak.

Feb. 15 - 21 brings "Taste of the South Goes North," with barbecued brisket meatloaf and braised smoked neckbones.

Feb. 22 - 28 completes the month with "Tastes of the North & South Come Together," featuring vinegar-braised shortribs and fried catfish. 

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