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Two Ethiopian places just off 395/DukeSt - anybody been?

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In the course of frantic errand-doing today, I was going from Little River Turnpike (just about at Tempt Asian) shortcutting behind Landmark SS up toward Columbia Pike.

Almost immediately passed a TEENSY strip mall, Google maps tags it as "Enat Fine Ethiopian Cuisine",4709 N Chambliss St, Alexandria. Apparently, they specialize in kitfo. http://enatethiopian.com/

And in the other end of the same strip (it's only 6 stores long) another "Ethiopian market and restaurant".that is too new to show up on Google Street View

Anybody been to either??

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  1. I'm glad I checked in. I happened to order take out from Enat last night. I had read wonderful reviews on yelp (or urbanspoon). It was excellent and we will be getting take out from them again.

    As suggested I ordered the vegetable combination. They gave us about 10 small containers filled with several of the vegetable dishes they have on the menu and several that are not. My 5 year old LOVEd the akik alitcha. We did not care for the collards but the cabbage and potatoes was good (mild), the spicy lentil wat was delish, my husband loved the shiro, and I loved the beets.

    I also ordered the Beg Wat (lamb shank in red pepper stew). Not too spicy, not too mild. When I got it home I shredded the beef and put it in the stew juices so we could all scoop some onto the injera.

    I don't know if this matters to you but their injera is gluten free (just like in Ethiopia). A lot of restaurants use wheat and add a little teff because it is cheaper. Not Enat.

    If you go I'd like to hear what you order and what you think. We ate Ethiopian years ago bt this is the first time we've had it in a LONG time. Next time I'll get the veggie combo (I hear they rotate some of the dishes) and maybe a beef stew.

    15 Replies
    1. re: nissenpa

      Thanks for the report. I've passed by there many times and wondered if I should experiment with lunch.

      1. re: MikeR

        Give it a shot. The tabletoppers at the bar advertise a lunch special of "buy any entree, get one half off", M-F, 11-3pm. I also just saw a groupon for them in the Now Deals. $20 worth of food for $10. You have to use it that day and it's dine-in only. But keep an eye out for more. I plan to.

        1. re: nissenpa

          Sorry, I can only eat one entree. ;) And I'm the $5 lunch guy (but that's pretty much become the $6 before tax and tip lunch guy)

          1. re: MikeR

            been there. :)

      2. re: nissenpa

        I went for lunch today, all by myself (as usual). Received a warm welcome, very good service, and the food (veggie platter) came quickly.

        My only expertise in Ethiopian food comes from eating it, and unfortunately the names don't stay in my mind. 11 modest-size portions added up to a huge meal. I could have eaten the collards all day (and they tasted a lot more of collard-y goodness than those at other places). I'm also fond of the naturally-sweet cabbage and potatoes. I was very pleased with the green beans (cooked very soft) mixed with carrot chunks (retaining a bit of crisp snap).

        It's probably just me, but I wasn't fond of any of the several lentil dishes, which IMO ranged from mild all the way down to flavorless. Something new to me: something almost white, pasty-soft and tart ... could this be injera mashed with dressing? I liked it. And at $11.99 for a huge and varied platter, the price is great.

        I may very well go back, but not in a mad hurry. The whole little strip mall, including a barber/salon, photo shop, the obligatory phonecard-and-everything-else shop, a Western Union, and down at the other end, the brand-new Dile Cafe and Market (which I haven't looked into yet), seems to be Ethiopian, judging from the signs in Amharic in almost every window.

        1. re: wayne keyser

          Have been to Enat a couple of time, and it's probably our favorite place in the suburbs for Ethiopian meats and vegetables. (wish I worked close by to take advantage of the lunch specials). However, I find the injera less good (less sour?) than at many other establishments. The last time we were in, we spoke to the owner, who said he has been experimenting with the injera recipe because he is dissatisfied with the quality / authenticity of the ingredients he gets. We'll be keeping an eye on how the injera tastes.

          1. re: hoosiereph

            This doesn't help when dining at the restaurant but we had some much injera left that I stuck the leftovers in the fridge and the next morning it had a MUCH stronger sour flavor. I loved it that way.

            1. re: hoosiereph

              If the owner is "experimenting with the injera recipe", how come the table tent (advertising card) claims that the authentic injera are "imported from Ethiopia"? In my experience, from the moment they're made they've got maybe 3 days before they're stale.

              We're blessed with several very good local manufacturers of fresh injera, including (I'm sure) 100%-teff injera.

              1. re: wayne keyser

                It was a few months ago that he told us this; if there are now signs that say the injera is being imported, that suggests he's given up both on the local manufacturers and makIng it in-house.

                Sounds like it's time for another trip to Enat...

                1. re: hoosiereph

                  I noticed on the Enat web site that it said something like "injera house" whatever that means.

            2. re: wayne keyser

              Was the "almost white, pasty-soft and tart" stuff aib by any chance? Kind of like a dry cottage cheese?

              1. re: dracisk

                Nope - I haven't seen aib since the (first in the area, long gone) Mama Desta's.

                Think "mashed injera with Italian dressing mixed in". Sounds awful, but really quite tasty.

                1. re: wayne keyser

                  I have had aib at Soretti's in Burtonsville and I think at Meaza in Falls Church.

                  1. re: comestibles

                    Recently at Ethiopic, and not-so-recently at quite a few places.

                  2. re: wayne keyser

                    I've definitely seen aib around recently, too, even if I've had to make a special request for it.

            3. I got a livingsocial coupon for this place and am looking forward to trying it out -- when I viewed their menu online, I noted they also serve Ethiopian breakfast -- most of the dishes appear to be very simple (there's a bean dish, and one that seems like a way to use up last night's injera by chopping it up and mixing it with spices) but interesting, and I'd love to try them out. Anyone had breakfast there?