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Queen of Sheba-Not Good

  • n

IMHO, Queen of Sheba is not a nice dining experience:

OUTAGES
They were out of three key things: baklava, Ethiopian beer, and the bread appetizer.

BAD SERVICE
They forgot our appetizer (though they didn't try and charge us for it, which some really bad places do).

FOOD DISCLAIMER
I guess I don't like Ethiopian food. I thought I would. I love other cuisines that serve a special flat bread with a variety of little tastes to dip the bread into (e.g. middle eastern-pita&hummus, turkish-flat bread&dips, Indian-Naan+nice sauces). But Ethiopian bread is like a cold thin sponge. And the dips were not good. I ordered both tasting plates (veggie and meat) plus the dish suggested on chowhound (ZilZil Tibs). Nothing was that great, IMHO.

POSITIVES
For those that know they like Ehiopian, I have to admit that the service was friendly and the decor was nice. And prices are reasonable.

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  1. exactly what i wanted to say about this place.
    went there a few weeks ago with a friend..though we were ready for a new experience, nothing really wowed us..we ordered a combination dish(ones with different types of dips) but i didn't like any of them...and for the serving, i thought it was quite pricy for a few dips.

    1. hmm...I guess I'm not sure I see the point of this post, and frankly, given your "disclaimer", the title of your post is misleading.

      you don't like injera. fine, I don't especially like it either. but your post doesn't tell anyone whether Queen of Sheba is a good Ethiopian restaurant or not (though your title indicates that it isn't)...it just tells us that you had a service snafu and you don't like Ethiopian food in general...or maybe the food at Queen of Sheba is off, but you wouldn't know because you've never had Ethiopian before.

      it's equivalent to someone posting "Grand Sichuan - Not Good" because the food is spicy.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nathan
        n
        NativeNewYorker

        The posting is clear. Here's a rewrite, though:

        "Not Good" comes in two forms at Queen of Sheba...

        FORM 1: IF YOU LIKE ETHIOPIAN
        They run out of dishes. They forget dishes. That's what happened to me.

        FORM 2: IF YOU ARE THINKING OF TRYING ETHIOPIAN FOR THE FIRST TIME
        You might fund the bread spongy and cold, unlike warm pita and warm Nan. I did.

        1. re: Nathan

          It seems to me to be a valid post - the poster didn't much like the food he was served AND he disclosed that he was a novice with Ethiopian. By bringing the restaurant into discussion, other people can now chime in with their views pro or con.

          Sure, a post by somebody who is knowlegeable about the cuisine, has been to the country, has previously tried every other such place in the city and nation etc. etc. is maybe more valuable, but most of us cant meet that standard. Ultimately what matters to us here is whether the food tastes good and we dont want to discourage talk about that.

          ps - Im not fond of injera either.

        2. I've been a number of times and have nothing but good experiences. That said, the service is really, really slow (but hey that makes it more authentic) and the men's room is disgusting.

          The food is always good, consistently the best Ethiopian I have had outside of DC and preferable to both Meskerem and Ghenet...

          Sorry you don't like Ethiopian food (many don't)!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Dave

            I agree. Q of S is among the best ethiopian options in the city, though it can be hit and miss. I like anything with the berber sauce, esp. the shimbra assa (veggie balls) and chicken leg with hard boiled egg.

            Have to say, though, that I've been a bit disappointed by the ethiopian offerings in manhattan. Got somewhat spoiled by the good stuff when I lived in DC. Dave, if you're ever out in the SF bay area, particularly the east bay, make sure to try some ethiopian there. On par with the DC stuff, imo.

            1. re: a&w

              A bit off-topic, but where in the east bay? I get out there quite a bit.

              1. re: Dave

                I'm a fan of a place called Cafe Colucci in Berkeley, but definitely post on the bay area board. I'm sure others can provide even better suggestions.

              2. re: a&w

                I've eaten at Meskerem and was a bit disappointed. After great ethiopean in DC and Boston. I shall try Q of S then, thanks for pointing that out.

              3. re: Dave

                i've always had good experiences there too -- some service confusion, yes...but delicious food and nice atmosphere...my favorite dish is the whole fried fish...

              4. j
                Jonathan Saw

                Injera should not be cold, which may have had an effect on your experience.

                Ehtiopian is food is like none other in the world, so if you went in expecting it to be similar to Middle Eastern or Indian, you may have set yourself up for a prfound disappointment. ( I used to tell my friends the same thing until I discvoered it totally screwed up the experience for them.)

                Ah well, if you don't like it you don't like it. I love it and Queen of Sheba is among the best.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Jonathan Saw

                  sorry to hear of your bad experience NativeNewYorker; I've had great experiences at Queen of Sheba, and I've eaten at a bunch of places (ghenet, meskerem's two locations and also the old place that used to be on Grand Street), and Queen of Sheba is the best. The injera is an acquired test for sure and not meant to be toasted pita chips or whatnot (I go to Cinderella Falafel for the veggie combo plate if that's what I'm in the mood for), but at this place, it's always been served warm, but not hot, and of course, by the time you get to it, it cools down, but the food is always warm. My favorite dish is the ultra-rare beef passed through butter; it's almost scarily raw but absolutely delicious. and if this was any sort of sign, the place is always full of Ethiopian people so I'll follow them. And, the servers have always been extremely sweet and accomodating.

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    I guess I'm the wrong guy for Eth. food. Wanted to warn the other Eth. neophytes before they went expecting warm pita and hommus.

                    Cinderella Falafel is a great suggestion. I will try that next.

                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                      ya, that veggie combo plate is big enough for two, esp. if you order extra pita. make sure to ask them for some of their cauliflower, they don't always put it on the plate.

                2. I do like Ethiopian food, and I ate here recently with two friends. Luckily for me, the injera wasn't too sour, but I thought the food could have used stronger spicing. For the three of us, we ordered the meat combo and veggie combo. None of the tiny piles stood out for me, and I felt there wasn't much difference between a few of them. Maybe they toned down the spicing for us?