Fresno has an Ethiopian restaurant
Lucy's Lair - at the corner of Maple and Behymer (in the space where Choices used to be). Never having tried this type of food before I gave it a shot. You eat with your hands (you use the bread to scoop up the food). The bread is made with sogrum (sp?) and is very spongy. There is a list of vegan choices or you can get a sample of four for about $10. Service is very pleasant but can be slow. There is also Ethiopian beer and wine available.
I have never had Ethiopian food before and when I saw this, I thought I would give it a try. It was a great experience. Easy to find, great service, reasonable prices. It smelled SO GOOD when we walked in the door. I didn't love the injera, but I love eating with my fingers, lol. Its not that the injera was bad, I just personally didn't care for the flavor. Its definitely worth trying if you love to try new and different things. We had 4 options off the vegan menu, and a chicken dish. The spicy dishes were spicy enough to give it all great flavor, even if you tend to like your spicy dishes a little hotter. Everything was great. If you've never had Ethiopian before, it is similar in some ways to Indian. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you're an adventurous eater.
I gave it a try the day after it opened. The vegan dishes were very interesting and the lamb was a treat. However, we had a beef dish, the name escapes me, and it was clear that they don't cook with beef often. It was very tough and had gristle. I'd be wary of ordering it in the future.
Did you try any of the spicy meat dishes, tavmark? We ate at a great place in D.C. and really enjoyed the cuisine.
Here's a link to intro of the article in the Bee, apparently you have to register to be able to read the whole thing. Their online policies and restrictions are just bizarre. Joan Obra did a great job so it's a well worthwhile read and includes recipes. It mentions that the business sign still says "Choices" and they source some of their ingredients from an Ethiopian grocery called Tropical Foods and Clothes at 1124 W. Shields Ave. It also notes that their older clientele prefer the Meta beer, while the younger tend toward the Hakim Stout which has a deeper flavor and bitter after taste.
What I had was not spicy by my standards (but my kids thought some of it was.) As part of the vegan offerings I had the beans which were good. We ordered the chicken which came in a dark "mole type" sauce with a hard boiled egg. Personally I prefer white chicken meat to drumsticks (but that's a personal preference.) I had the Meta beer and really liked it. (I generally prefer lager type beers to stouts.)
When I go back I want to try the raw meat dish (described as a steak tartare type dish). Sounds like the Ethiopian version of Armenian rheyma.)
Spent Sunday evening at Lucy's and was impressed... There was 12 of us eating several Chefs included and the agreement was that it is well worth the money. Our bill cam to just over $290.00 with a lot of beer and wine included.
We had both Wat (Chicken and Lamb) we prefered the chicken because of the dark meat used and lended itself nicely to the onion and spice based 'stew'. I know the Egg is traditional but would refine that part of the dish a little. The Lamb Wat seemed a bit less flavorful than the chicken although I am sure the base stew was the same. The Tibs of Beef were gorgeously flavored with rosemary and garlic. We also did try the Kitfo and I was a little disappointed although it may just be my ignorence to the style of the dish. I was expecting a little more of a dice or brunoise of beef instead of what was almost a beef paste in texture. The flavor was great and deffinitley spiced up a notch or 10 over the rest of the dishes.
What got me was the vegan items, every one of them was delicious and I consider myself a serious carnivor. The favorites were the Tomato & Red Onion and the spiced chickpea puree.
The owner/Chef - I think is "Lucy" - although only at our table for a few moments, was one of the most charming hosts I have come across in a long time.
Worth a visit.