Meskel Ethiopian Restaurant, 3rd and Ave B
On my way to dinner last night, I met two very nice women waiting (for a very long time) at the bus stop with me. When I mentioned I was heading to the restaurant recently reviewed in the Times (11/1)- Meskel, they urged me to join Chowhound and post about it, so here I am!
My friend and I arrived at the small restaurant in Alphabet city around 6:45pm on Thursday and not a moment too soon. The tiny room, artfully decorated was packed with people waiting outside for a table, the entire time we were there. Probably as a result of the recent review, the place seemed under staffed until extra help arrived about an hour later.
After much waiting, I ordered the meat combo dish (to sample a greater variety of the food) and my friend ordered one of the chicken dishes (that came with boiled eggs). Both were excellent, and were filled with fun flavors. As a first timer for Ethiopian food, this was definitely a fine choice to experiment on.
Also, BYOB/W as they do not yet have a licence.
Five of us went on Thursday for my birthday, and even though it was around the peak dinner hour, they pushed some tables together for us right away. I'm reasonably new to the city and haven't tried a lot of Ethiopian restaurants here, so I can't really make comparisons, but Meskel was great! We thought about running out and getting some wine, but we ended up being so stuffed that sticking with water was okay. Things are obviously still a bit hectic, but everyone's very friendly. Quite a nice experience.