“When I decided that I wanted to introduce people to my food, the food of North Central Nigeria, I had to figure out what form the meal should take,” Ayo Balogun, host and founder of this unusual dining experience told our group. “If this was a Japanese place, we’d be sitting at a counter, but for Nigerian food I knew we had to all sit together, at one big table, like at a buka (an African communal table restaurant).” And so began one of the most intriguing meals I’ve ever had in New York City. Fifteen of us, strangers before this night, sat at a heavy square wooden table, in a storefront decorated with photos of Balogun’s family and home. As each of the four courses was served, our charming host regaled us with tales, and riffs, on his family’s history, the regions of Nigeria, phone scams involving “Nigerian princes” and so much more, all of it, eventually, landing back on what was on the plate in front of us. His insightful storytelling inspired those around the table to share their thoughts, and soon we were all chatting as if we’d known each other for years. Overall: A top travel experience, though those who don’t like spicy food may have difficulties (our pepper soup with fish packed a punch). It’s always tasty, though, and the menu changes every two weeks.