- Joined: 8/31/2003
- Location: Mt. Airy, MD
Sat, 11/27/04 12:40 PM
Originally posted by meowzart
I second Marber. DC has great Ethiopian eateries, and if you go to the Adams Morgan neighborhood, you could easily do an Ethiopian eat-around. I like Dukem, too, and also Meskerem.
A washingtonpost.com search yielded 11 Ethiopian restaurants in the D.C. area. This is Tom Sietsema's review of Dukem: You don't get forks or knives; as is typical of Ethiopian dining, the food at Dukem is eaten with fingers and pieces of injera, the slightly sour crepe that also stands in for a plate. If you're a novice, be advised: No staff member I encountered at this corner dining room spoke much English, if any. But pointing and enlisting the help of native Ethiopian customers, who seem to treat this as a community center as much as a place to eat, can land you some pleasant memories to take back home. One signature is kitfo, a mound of raw ground beef blended with house-made cottage cheese, herbed butter and hot red pepper. Imagine steak tartare mixed with fire. You don't have to be a carnivore to eat well, though. Follow the lead of seemingly every other table and request the vegetable combination: Out comes a floppy round of injera, dolloped with a variety of earth-toned dishes, from chopped greens and yellow lentils to a tomato salad sparked with jalapenos. Afternoon soap operas and CNN on TV yield to live Ethiopian music onstage Thursday through Monday evenings.
-- Tom Sietsema
Eve Zibart's review of Meaza says this of the injera and teff: the injera at Arlington's Meaza -- injeras, in fact, the darker made entirely of teff and the paler half teff, half whole wheat -- has reconciled me to what can only be called the white-breading of many Washington Ethiopian restaurants. That, and the tripe.
"Bread" is almost universal shorthand for sustenance, both spiritual and physical; and in few cuisines is it more central than Ethiopian, where the injera, the large, soft pancake that is torn up and dipped bite by bite into the dishes, serves as plate, utensil and napkin as well as bread. Consequently, even a meal of the most exquisite lentil stew on humdrum injera quickly goes flat.
Teff, the small but nutritionally potent grain traditionally used for making injera, is expensive to import, and most Ethiopian kitchens and injera bakeries in the area have switched to part-teff blends or use buckwheat and other similarly sour doughs instead. (Injera is as pure a dough as it comes, with flour, water and a few days' fermenting, which gives it both the spongy, air-bubbly texture and the distinctively pungent flavor.) But none is quite as puckery, or as dark brown, as pure teff, and for those who love the real stuff, the teff injera at Meaza, though no longer made in-house, is as good as it comes, great pizza-size pancakes for $5 an order (about a half-dozen!). Even the half whole wheat, which comes standard unless you request the other, is better than most.
She loved Meaza, by the way, although she notes that the kitchen is "American-wary", and tends to backpedal on the spices a bit. Reading other reviews on the washingtonpost website, this seems to be true of an otherwise interesting-looking Nepalese/Tibetan restaurant called Himalayan Grill. Shame.
P.S. Here's a real groaner of a name for you. http://www.thegrillfromipanema.com/