FASIKA-NOT IMPRESSED [MSP]
As a CH who loves to try new places and having never been to Fasika - I was really excited to try their food. I've gazed at their menu many times and finally went last night. I feel I have a high tolerance for various flavors and long ago, having eaten at an African restaurant on Nicollet (specific to a certain region) that is now closed, and the other Ethiopian restaurants around the area---I knew of the berbere and heat, and was hoping for the same at Fasika.
First, the flavors. I loved the heat of the berbere...but (and correct me if I am wrong), I don't remember berbere being SO incredibly oily. I mean, it was really really bad. I used a host of napkins to suck up the oil before dipping my injera in it. I don't recall this at any other Ethiopian restaurant I'd been too before.
Second, for $11.50 - I thought I'd get 3 or 4 chicken drummies as opposed to 2. I'm not necessarily looking for American-sized portions, but 2? For all the basted sauce, it seemed overdone in berbere sauce covering 2 drummies. I don't mean to sound cheap-but???? compared to other venues for the price and quality, I was a bit bummed.
Third, no salad and only 1 hard boiled egg (indicated plural eggs...so I was thinking two)....which again, for $11.50, seemed a bit strange.
Lastly, Fasika needs to update their menu and pricing. I know the economy has struck everyone and I don't mind-but the price on the website has changed...from 9.25 to 11.50 for doro wot (the chicken).
Some of my complaints are minor--but honestly? The oil was the first and foremost..never been like at Dukem or Blue Nile...
I definitely choose them over Fasika next time I'm for the craving.
I think of Blue Nile & Fasika as very different. I like both, for sure, and 6 years ago, I know there was a significant price difference (Fasika being cheaper). But I've been to both, I like both, but know that they're definitely very different in flavor. I can see someone liking one but not the other.
As tex.as.toast said, berbere is a spice mix. Niter Kibbeh is the spiced clarified butter that goes in dishes making them oily. Some Doro Wat has lots in it, some only a little based on my review of recipes when I made it at home.
We have many Ethiopian and Somali friends. All have said that Fasika is the best. I too have noticed that the portion of mean/egg in the Doro Wat wasn't huge, but I wasn't as taken aback as you were, I guess. I've found the food there to be excellent and never noticed the grease.
So, maybe you had a bad day. Or maybe their version of Doro Wat isn't for you. Either way I'd encourage you to try again. I hope next time it will be better.
I'm usually of the opinion that I should try places more than once---and yet, I don't know if I will give it a second chance. Yes, you are right-berbere is a combination spice mix - but it is put into a thickened sauce to place over chicken, beef, lamb or lentils (for vegetarians). If you go onto their website, the pictures are accurate in terms of the berbere used in a sauce.
As I stated, not looking for mega portions but I thought for $11.50 - 2 chicken drummies seemed pretty small..and hey, I know I'm harping about $11.50-Im not cheap-I'll pay $100 alone for just my meal-and not blink twice-as long as I'm getting excellent food! I couldn't get over the grease ... a pool sitting on top of the doro wot.
If I go back, I'll report and go vegetarian.
I had a meal like that at Namaste. It was so disgusting I don't see myself going back to give them a 2nd chance.
I'd go to Fasika again, but mostly to please my partner & I'm a little curious about the fish platters. But for a hard-core Ethiopian craving, Blue Nile hits the spot better. Again, for me.
If i am not mistaken berbere is a spice mix which is generally dry - im not sure what application involved oil at all but it is my understanding that it is a powder that would not have any fat in it at all.
As for the price/portion - ive never ordered meat at Fasika, but even before the prices, apparently, went up i thought they could have been bigger. I do remember thinking that there was less protein to sauce/stew in the meat dishes that i had seen ordered by my dining companions.
That said- if you do go back id strongly recommend the veg plater, with or without the piece(s) of optional fried fish. it costs a bit less and is, or was as of the last time i ordered it, a huge portion of a nice variety of things. Definitely shareable.
Perhaps it was an off night?