Ethiopian at Awash
Had dinner last night at Awash, which an Ethiopian friend introduced me to a while back. It's off the main Ethiopian drag on Fairfax, so it seems it's mostly frequented by Ethiopians. There was a big family group having dinner, a couple smaller groups and some guys at the bar chatting and watching the Dodgers vs. Atlanta on TV.
The special kitfo, rare/raw ground beef mixed with spices, garlic and jalapeno, was flat-out delicious. It comes mounded in a squat little bowl with tripod legs. I love this stuff.
I was surprised that they don't have that typical chicken stew, doro wot, on the menu. There was another chicken dish (tibs) that sounded less interesting. We got the alitcha tibs, which is a mild beef** stew with turmeric. It was okay.
Usually at other Ethiopian restaurants you'll get a dab of lentils and of yellow peas along with your meat dishes, but not here. We did get some salad and something like a dry, tangy version of cottage cheese. So I ordered some lentils as well, which our waitress said she preferred over the peas. It didn't wow me either... and Iit tasted like it might have been a bit burnt.
So on the whole, the only thing that impressed me was the kitfo, which was truly fantastic. And I$26 for two people including tax and tip was pretty satisfying too.
I've been to most of the other games in town and haven't been swept away by any -- Meals by Genet (though I like the black peas with wasabi), Rosalind's, Messob, Rahel's, a couple places on the Westside, Nyala and Blue Nile. The only one I haven't been to is Merkato, if that's the one on the east side of Fairfax. Unfortunately, although I love Ethiopian food I only crave it once in a while. Once I have it, I don't go for another few months, so it's hard to do a head-to-head comparison. But some friends were talking about going soon, so I might try Rosalind's again.
** On second thought, maybe the alitcha tibs was lamb. But can you see what it means that I couldn't tell the difference?
One of the scientists here at work is Ethiopian and Awash is the one he and his wife frequent (when she doesn't feel like cooking). He knows the owner. Although he told me that even when the owner is sitting with him at his table, the service is still horrible!
I have not been to Awash yet, but Merkato is my favorite.