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Jul 6, 2007 09:02 PM

Help-Ethiopian Food

We are going for Ethiopian food tomorrow night and know nothing about it. Three of our group are meat eaters and not into a lot of vegetables, what can we order. I know we are going to eat with our hand using their bread, but I know nothing of Ethiopian food. I would like to have a heads up as what is good to order that some of the group will enjoy it. Some of them have already been several time but not all of us eat the same. Thanks

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  1. have you already selected a restaurant?

    1. you didn't mention which place you're going to ...i've only been to Merkato, really liked it which is why we haven't gone to others, and only had fish and vegetables dishes...that said...

      generally most locations have a meat combination sampler as well as same for vegetarian sampler with lentils, collards, etc. and all with injera ... the vegetarian was usually adequate for 3 people. you can always expand from whatever's on the combo sampler and order some beef, lamb or chicken tibs (stewed, done with chiles, onions) or kitffo- an Ethiopian beef tartare ...also liked the pumpkin squash- some of the chilis carry good heat (chili appetizer is like jalapeno's stuffed with tomatoes and onion, really hot!) and helps to calm the flaming tongue issue.

      we also got the whole fish with lemon that was very basic, a little bony, but very good...also picking around the bones slowed us down from inhaling everything put in front of us.

      at Merkato there are big stacks of napkins at the wait station, you'll need all that they bring you and probably will ask for more! it's fun and lemon does a good job of cleaning your finger tips.

      1. Thank you. We ended up at Rosalinds. We ordered the appetizer plate that had everything, the six of us agreed that we liked the plaintains and shrimp the best. The rest was overcooked and dry.. We each ordered a separate entree, one had a lamb stew the taste was good but the meat was mushy. One got the the steak tartare and he was the only one that ate it, he said it needed more flavor. One got the beef strips with grilled onions, and I got the grilled lamb with grilled onions and peppers. We all liked the grilled lamb and beef the best. We were suprised that we liked it better than we thought we would,but we would only order the shrimp, plaintains and the grilled meats if we went back. IT was reasonably priced and we got a ten percent off coupon from their website.

        19 Replies
        1. re: paprkutr

          Next time go to Rahel (it's vegan, so there won't be any meat) or Meals by Genet. Those two are the very best on that little strip of Fairfax.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            second your recommendation.
            if paprkutr goes to rahel, be sure to ask for some of their excellent awazay.
            i also love their shiro.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Third Rahel. Get the Hudade or special combo. I also like the thing with zuccini.

              1. re: Diana

                Rahel's food is fresh but rather bland, even when you ask her to spice it up. It's also vegetarian. Haven't been to Meals by Genet, though I hear its good. An Ethiopian cabbie I spoke with recently recommended Messob, though I haven't been there, either.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  Odd, I've NEVER had bland food at Rahel (by the way, sheused to own messob, she sold it to open a vegetarian place. Messob still uses Rahel's recipes.

                  I found Nyala Bland, but Rahel is pretty good with flavor and proper ethiopian spices. She even sells her bebere mix to other restaraunts and ethiopian residents in the area.

                  1. re: Diana

                    I tried Rahel's twice -- the second time asking her to spice it up as other posters suggested. Even then, the dishes weren't salty enough (I think this is a concession to American tastes generally and LA specifically) and the berber lacked fire. I haven't tried Messob yet, but will let you know how it compares.

                    1. re: Diana

                      completely agree with you here about rahel.
                      her food, to me, is delicious.
                      i wouldn't call her food spicy, but to me it is deeply flavored.
                      in particular, i appreciate her shiro.
                      sadly, the shiro is not served on her lunch special--it must be ordered as part of a different combination or a la carte.

                      i always get the awazay as a condiment.

                    2. re: a_and_w

                      I did not like Messob. I prefer Merkato and always get the fish and vegetarian platter. Also, don't miss out on that honey wine!

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        Yeah, you can get Honey wine anywhere but Rahel. But at Rahel, you can bring your own bottle of ANYTHING for no corkage.

                        Ethiopian food does very well with serveral varieties of beer, not just the ehtiopian beer.

                        I found MErkato's service to be the absolute slowest, and in Little Ethiopia, that's SLOW. I also found the food there to be the salties, which is SUPER SALTY. In fact, it was so salty, the next day I was bloated with water weight gain so badly, my rings wouldn't fit and I weighed in at 8 pound heavier. 8 pounds of water weight gain! It took days to flush out.

                        I'll never go back!

                        1. re: Diana

                          That's too bad. Your loss. I have never had a problem with saltiness there, but the service is pretty slow although no where near as bad as it was at Messob. However, I have found that slow service is an issue at ALL Ethiopian restaurants so if you go with that already in your mind, the dining experience is that much more enjoyable.

                          1. re: WildSwede

                            Truly, in Ethiopia, I have read, eating a meal is a time to gather and spend several hours with each other. That feeling is carried over in Little Ethiopia, where service has been sped up a little to match American standards.

                            Howver, it is still far slower than any American place.

                            I've found Messob is quicker than Merkato, slower than Rahel and About the same as Rosalinde's. Nyala is like molasses in January, but Merkato was even SLOWER.

                            but slow service with water bloating was too much for me to want to return.

                            I find rahel pretty quick, and the best food.

                            1. re: Diana

                              Oh, definitely slower than any American place!!

                              When we went to Messob we ordered our drinks and they came almost an hour later (we didn't notice, since there were about 15 of us and we were chatting, until she came to take our drink orders again). Then, after we ordered our meals, it was an hour more. We were there for 3 hours!! By that time I had pretty much had it.
                              The trick at Merkato is to not get stuck in one of the back corner tables. I have noticed that you practically have to send up flares to get any notice back there! We opt for the table straight across from where they come out with the food. Even then we have to vie for attention, but it is much easier!! ;-)

                              Will have to try Rahel - never been there!

                              1. re: WildSwede

                                I have been to Messob several times and have enjoyed the food there even though the service is slow. I think I like it better than Merkato, but I haven't been there in awhile. Hopefully I will try Meals By Genet soon!

                          2. re: Diana

                            also, merkato's fish, the time i had it, was absolutely too old, too fishy, not fresh, on the borderline of being vile. salt does not save this kind of dish.

                            their other stuff was ok, but not imho in the league of rahel or meals by genet.

                            1. re: Diana

                              "I also found the food there to be the salties, which is SUPER SALTY."

                              Super salty, you say? Hmmm...

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                By the way, salt does not equal authenticity. I mean, if you like bloating by 8 pounds of water weight gain, be my guest.

                                I know desert food tends to have a bit more salt to replace mineral lost by sweat, but not THAT salty. And there was no flavor to balance, as there is in Rahel.

                                1. re: Diana

                                  All I'm saying is that "slow" and "salty" are two adjectives I relate to authentic Ethiopian food.

                              2. re: Diana

                                what type of wine goes well with ehiopian food? never been there but with good food and no corkage is music to my ears :)

                                1. re: rickym13

                                  Sweet wines go well. Ethioinas themselves drink a type of Honey Wine that is like mead.

                                  I find a sweeter white or red to be good.

                                  For wine, try a gwurtz or riesling-maybe a less heavy red.

                                  You could also find a nice mead, say chaucer's or redtone and do well.

                                  Beer does VERY well with ethiopian food. A wit, blonde, lager, IPA, ale, or darker beers, such as stouts or porters.

                                  I even like Sake with Ethiopian!

                  2. love Nyala on Fairfax..