Taste of Ethiopia in Southfield, MI
I cashed-in my Groupon at Taste of Ethiopia (ToE) last night ( http://www.tasteofethiopia.com/index.htm ). Pretty good place. I certainly will be back this year.
Because, needless to say, I’ve never had the pleasure of eating in Ethiopia or even at an expat’s home, I’ll endeavor to compare ToE to big shot Blue Nile (BN) --- http://www.bluenilemi.com/bluenile/. I’ve also had such food elsewhere, but it’s been too many years ago...Detroit’s long lost Abyssinia Bar is one of those places which fondly comes to mind.
As advertised by jjspw, the injera pancakes, made from WELL fermented teff grain, were quite nice. Advantage ToE. These came with the meat (no veggies) combo ($13.75). The combo’s “L1” lamb, in a green stew, was truly excellent. But, the beef stew was fiercely boiled until all the fat and juice had been evacuated from inside the meat. Not good; off night? The chicken leg was okay.
At BN the meat+veggie combos are all-u-can-eat for $18, though lamb costs extra. ToE’s serving sizes are sufficient, so I don’t need to consume, or pay a premium for, all-u-can-eat quantities. However, it would give me the flexibility to shun lame items and to load up on the great items. Sorry, but my personal preference goes to BN, in the meat combo category. That being said, I also had a side order of lamb rib fajitas, and they were great! ToE was 2 for 2 in the lamb category.
Veggie combo: As mentioned, at BN the veggies come with the meat combo. At ToE they are separate, so I ordered a combo of V1-5 ($11.75). Lentils simmered in berbere, garlic, ginger, etc.; Split peas; Cabbage/carrots/potatoes; Collard greens; and Green beans. Made me happy, yet I’m going with a slight edge to BN here, too. I hope I’m wrong, but all the yummy ToE veggie concoctions tasted like they had weird BOTTLED minced garlic in them, and this is hard to believe, given that all of ToE’s vegetables, themselves, seemed to be very fresh. Someone please correct me, if I'm off base, here.
The one veggie dish expressly excluded from the ToE combo deal was “Emeye Shiro.” Since it is SO special, I absolutely had to order it as well. I’ll be kind and just say that I don’t recommend you order this, because it was not special.
Unlike BN, a salad came with the ToE meat combo, and so did two complimentary samosas (delicious). To my surprise, friendly ToE also has a liquor license, so I was able to take in a little (African?) beer with the Ethiopian synthesized karaoke asserting itself from the speaker. Yes, I dig those tunes.
ToE versus BN certainly is a “little guy takes-on the big guy” story. My outlook, though, is that there’s room enough for both in this town!