My favorite in Cinci area is: http://www.buycincy.com/flavor/2008/07/emanu-the-best-new-restaurant.html
Emanu: The best new restaurant in Cincinnati 20 Jul 2008
I take photos of food the way some people take photos of their kids. Every new dish I make or eat is recorded for future blogging purposes, and my boyfriend is now trained to pause before digging in when we sit down to dinner or are served at a restaurant.
Sometimes, however, food is so good that I simply forget to bring out the camera. Friday night was one of those cases.
Emanu, the much-anticipated East African/Ethiopian restaurant, in Pleasant Ridge has opened. Get there soon--because as soon as the word gets out, this place is going to be packed! What is it? Emanu
opened some time last week, and you can tell they hoped to have a slow first couple of weeks. Some of the tables, while set with white linen, were still covered in plastic. A few decorative branches lingered in a corner, with the Ikea tags still attached. And with no liquor license yet, the bar served as a storage space.
Tough luck for the owners: The place is already a hit. The two servers were completely overwhelmed on Friday night, and a couple of diners walked out because they waited 10 minutes to get menus. Their loss--the food was amazing, and the service was great (although slow).
When I arrived at 6 p.m., I was one of three diners. By the time my friends arrived 30 minutes later, three more tables of two had arrived. An hour and a half later, when we were finishing up our meal, both sides of the dining room were packed with a diverse crowd. A Bible study group of 20 took up most of the back dining room, and couples of all ages were in the front room.
According to a friend of mine who lives in Pleasant Ridge, Emanu's owners formerly ran a restaurant down the street, so their former customer base had been waiting impatiently for the (re)opening. I can see why. Emanu is family owned and operated, and the food is amazing. During my half-hour wait for my friends (I mixed up our reservation time), I had time to linger over the menu and an Ethiopian coffee (at $1.50, it's thick and rich, served like Turkish coffee but tasting as fine as an Italian espresso.). Co-owner Sam Yhdego chatted with me for awhile and seemed thoroughly shocked that they were so busy on Friday. The two-page menu thankfully came with translations and descriptions, because I've only eaten Ethopian once a long time ago when I still ate meat. The menu offers three vegetarian stews (wats) and two varieties of beef, lamb and chicken: a wat and a tibs (saute).
We had one each of the vegetarian dishes: collard greens, lentils and cabbage each sauteed with spices and served on injara (the sour crepelike bread that's ubiquitous in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine). Served family style on a large platters and extra injara, the dishes were spicy but not hot -- and affordable. For three of us, with appetizers, entrees and dessert, our bill was less than $50! Our other two friends shared two meat dishes and spent about the same per person. The food was amazing, and I was so distracted that I forgot to take a photo!
We planned ahead and brought our own wine--three bottles of it. Few other diners were in the know and looked longingly at our wine. Another word of warning: Emanu's credit card system hadn't been set up last weekend. It's cash-only--but there's an ATM across the street if you forget. Who's it for?
Anyone who, like me, is tired of the same ethnic food options in Cincinnati. Take a group of friends and make a night of it. Eat Ethiopian style, with your right hand, using bits of injara to scoop up the tasty stews. How much?
Appetizers: all are $3
Try the sambussas, fried meat or veggie filled dumplings that reminded us of samosas. The vegetable soup was hearty, dotted with pasta and rich in cumin. Get it!
Get a couple and share.
Desserts: Baklava and cheesecake, each $3. They don't seem to be homemade, but the vanilla bean cheesecake was tasty (the baklava was good but not outstanding). And for $3, the price can't be beat!
Finish the meal with Ethiopian coffee: $1.50. Where is it?
6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge.
513 351 7686
one thing I have learned about going to real ethnic restaurants is to keep an open mind and ask a lot of questions - even so I was somewhat surprised the way the food was presented but I really enjoyed it
if you are not familiar with this type food I would read up about it - before going to such a restaurant - this wiki writeup is very informative and helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ethiopian_cuisine&printable=yes Ethiopian cuisine
characteristically consists of spicy vegetable and meat dishes, usually in the form of wot (With a hard 't' noise)
, a thick stew, served atop injera
, a large sourdough flatbread
, which is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff
flour. Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera
to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. No utensils are used.
Traditional Ethiopian cuisine employs no pork
of any kind, as most Ethiopians are either Ethiopian Orthodox Christians
or Jews, and are thus prohibited from eating pork. Furthermore, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church prescribes a number of fasting
Ge'ez: ጾም tṣōm
) periods, including Wednesdays, Fridays, and the entire Lenten
season, so Ethiopian cuisine contains many vegetarian
) dishes. This has also led Ethiopian cooks to develop a rich array of cooking oil sources: besides sesame
, Ethiopian cuisine also uses nug
(also spelled noog
, known also as niger seed
Ethiopian restaurants are a popular choice for vegetarians living in Western countries.
 Types of Ethiopian Cuisine
Raw ingredients in Harar Berbere
, a combination of powdered chile pepper
and other spices (somewhat analogous to Southwestern American chili powder
), is an important ingredient used in many dishes. Also essential is niter kibbeh
, a clarified butter
infused with ginger, garlic, and several spices.
This meal, consisting of injera
and several kinds of wat
(stew), is typical of Ethiopian
stews all begin with a large amount of chopped red onions
, which the cook simmers or sautees in a pot. Once the onions have softened, the cook adds niter kebbeh
(or, in the case of vegan dishes, vegetable oil
). Following this, the cook adds berbere
to make a spicy keiy
(Amharic: ቀይ ḳey
, Tigrinya, Ge'ez: ቀይሕ ḳeyyiḥ
; "red") wat
, or may omit the berbere for a milder alicha wat
or alecha wat
(Amharic: አሊጫ ālič̣ā
). In the event that the berbere is particularly spicy, the cook may elect to add it before the kibbeh
or oil so the berbere will cook longer and become milder. Finally, the cook adds meat
such as beef
, Ge'ez: ሥጋ śigā
(Amharic: ዶሮ dōrō
, Tigrinya: ደርሆ derhō
, Tigrinya በግዕ beggiʕ
such as split peas
(Amharic: ክክ kik
, Tigrinya: ክኪ kikkī
) or lentils
(Amharic: ምስር misir
, Tigrinya: ብርስን birsin
); or vegetables
such as potatoes
, Amharic: ድንች dinič
, Tigrinya ድንሽ diniš
), carrots and chard
Alternatively, rather than being prepared as a stew, meat or vegetables may be sautéed
to make tibs
, etc., Ge'ez ጥብስ ṭibs
). Tibs is served normal or special, "special tibs" is served on a hot dish with vegetables (salad) mixed in. The mid-18th century European visitor to Ethiopia, Remedius Prutky
, describes tibs
as a portion of grilled meat served "to pay a particular compliment or show especial respect to someone."
Another distinctive Ethiopian dish is kitfo
(frequently listed as ketfo
), which consists of raw (or rare) ground beef marinated in mitmita
(Ge'ez: ሚጥሚጣ mīṭmīṭā
, a very spicy chili powder) and niter kibbeh
. Gored gored
is very similar to kitfo
, but uses cubed, rather than ground, beef.
 Breakfast Firfir
, (Ge'ez: ፍርፍር firfir
; ፍትፍት fitfit
) made from shredded injera
with spices, is a typical breakfast dish. Another popular breakfast food is dulet
(Ge'ez: ዱለት dūlet
), a spicy mixture of tripe, liver, beef, and peppers with injera. Fatira
consists of a large fried pancake made with flour, often with a layer of egg, eaten with honey. Chechebsa
(or kita firfir
) resembles a pancake
covered with berbere
, or spices, and may be eaten with a spoon.
 Beverages Coffee ceremony
in Harar Tej
is a honey wine, similar to mead
, that is frequently drunk in bars (in particular, in a tej bet
ጠጅ ቤት ṭej bēt
, "tej house"). katikal
are inexpensive local spirits that are very strong. Coffee
(buna) originates from Ethiopia, and is a central part of Ethiopian beverages. Equally important is the ceremony
which accompanies the serving of the coffee, which is sometimes served from a jebena
(ጀበና), a clay coffee pot in which the coffee is boiled. In most homes a dedicated coffee area is surrounded by fresh grass, with special furniture for the coffee maker. A complete ceremony has three rounds of coffee and is accompanied by the burning of frankincense
 Serving style
(Ge'ez: መሶብ mesōb
) is a tabletop on which food is traditionally served. The mesob is usually woven from straw. It has a lid that is kept on it til time to eat. Just before the food is ready, a basin of water and soap is brought out for washing one's hands. When the food is ready, the top is taken off the mesob and the food is placed in the mesob. When the meal is finished, the basin of water and soap is brought back out for the hands to be washed again.
 Gurage dishes Gurage
cuisine additionally makes use of the false banana plant (enset
, Ge'ez: እንሰት inset
), a type of ensete
. The plant is pulverized and fermented to make a bread-like food called qocho
(Ge'ez: ቆጮ ḳōč̣ō
), which is eaten with kitfo.
The root of this plant may be powderized and prepared as a hot drink called bulla
(Ge'ez: ቡላ būlā
), which is often given to those who are tired or ill. Another typical Gurage preparation is coffee with butter (kebbeh
The most popular Gurage main dish is kitfo. Gomen
kitfo is another dish prepared in the occasion of Meskel
, a very popular holiday marking the discovery of the True Cross
. Collard greens
) are boiled, dried and then finely chopped and served with butter, chili and spices.
 References ^
Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time: A history of Ethiopia
(New York: Palgrove, 2000), p. 12 and note ^
J.H. Arrowsmith-Brown (trans.), Prutky's Travels in Ethiopia and other Countries
with notes by Richard Pankhurst (London: Hakluyt Society, 1991), p. 286 ^
"Uses of Enset
" (HTML). The 'Tree Against Hunger': Enset-Based Agricultural Systems in Ethiopia
. American Association for the Advancement of Science
(1997). Retrieved on 2007-08-13.