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Apr 6, 2008 08:11 AM

Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant in Baltimore?

I have never had Ethiopian food. Is it really hot or spicey? Is Ethiopian food a little too exotic, or too much of a cultural shock for some people? I'm thinking of trying Dukem on Maryland Ave in Baltimore.

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  1. I like Dukem. It's small and homey, and you see lots of friends and family of the owner coming in. The last time we were there we sat at the bar, and the owner asked us if we wanted some homemade stuff not on the menu. Then he opened up a tupperware container and started giving us stuff his wife made at home.

    I have taken people who have never had Ethiopian before and they thought it was an adventure and fun. Definitely different: no utensils. You rip off chunks of injera, a yeasty, tangy, spongy crepe-like bread and use that to take bits and pieces of assorted meats, vegetables, and eggs in a communal plate in the center.

    Not too spicy. Some dishes are spicier than others, but they are marked at such on the menu. The have "variety platters" (i.e., an assortment of meat, or veggies, or mix) so you can try several items at once.

    We ordered the fried whole fish a la carte and it rocked. Perfectly spiced, perfectly fried. And very authentic: the head, bones, everything was there. If you don't like to pick at your food/clean your food, don't order the fish. :)

    Go, sit at the bar, tell the owner you have never had Ethiopian before and I can assure you that they'll take care of you.

    Make sure you order the Ethiopian beer. Strong, but yum. :)