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Jul 15, 2012 07:37 AM

searching for the perfect injera!

Ethiopian food seems to be getting more popular here. Just tried a pretty good place on E. 6th Street, but still searching for the perfect injera , home made style with the right texture and degree of sour ness. Oh yummy when its great! Any ideas? thanks

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  1. I had dinner at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant last Saturday with a group of friends, including an Ethiopian friend named K. K. is a friend of the restaurant owners and had been there recently since the restaurant opened about a month ago. She praised the food for its excellence and authenticity. One person in our group ordered the vegetarian combo for one. Much to my amazement, there was a selection of 5 vegetarian options on the platter and it was more than enough for one person.

    The rest of our group were hardcore carnivores and opted for the kitfo, rare beef seasoned with clarified butter and mitmita, a spicy blend of red chili powders. The kitfo was a dark red and chopped well, not too small and you could tell that the quality of the meat was very high. The waitress spooned mitmita onto the injera-lined platters and brought over a small bowl of mitmita to our table. I have been to several Ethiopian restaurants in New York City and elsewhere and I don't remember mitmita being served with kitfo. K. told us that mitmita should always accompany kitfo. We dipped kitfo into the small piles of mitmita. We also ordered Lalibela's special tibs, a lamb shoulder dish with onions, spices and rosemary. This seems to be their signature dish. The lamb dish was also seasoned and cooked well. The meat was tender.

    Other dishes we had were shiro (split pea with spices) and the cabbage dish with potato and carrots, onion, garlic, and tumeric . The shiro helped to balance the heat of the kitfo dipped in mitmita and the lamb dish.

    The Injera was the best I have ever had. Beige in color, the injera did not feel sticky to the fingers. It had the right amount of sourness for flavor without being overpowering. The injera was thinner than other injera I've tasted, had numerous little round air pockets, felt springy and it tore easily. K. praised the high quality of the injera and told us that good injera is somewhat thin and does not balloon greatly in the middle.

    As the night wore, we noticed an increasing number of Ethiopian patrons and noticed kitfo on several tables.

    This place is very much still under the radar, so enjoy it while you can.

    Lalibelah Ethiopian Restaurant
    37 East 29th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ramen girl

      thanks Ramen Girl I will check it out this week!!!

      1. re: ramen girl

        Thanks for the report. We also will try. Sounds very good.

        1. re: ramen girl

          ramen girl
          what a find ! thanks . so surprised at the complimentary injera (bread) at the table with butter and hot stuff. knew I would be in for a treat. Great variety of vegetables fresh and tasty and the kitfo with those delicious spices mmmm. did they tell you those little round pockets on the best ingera are called "eyes" . this could easily be the best injera I have ever had. and portions big enough to share... hope this little jewel stays like this ...

          1. re: willtravel

            Took a trip to Lalibela this past weekend and was blown away by the quality of the food. We had the tomato salad for appetizer and then shared the Lalibela platter (standard meat combo). Everything was fresh and delicious and the injera was perfect. So far it's top on my list of Manhattan Ethiopian (my favorite in NYC is Ghenet in Brooklyn, but the flavor here may be even better). The staff were warm and friendly. The space is a bit strange but I recommend looking past it as the food was totally worth it. For example, the temperature inside was bizarrely hot when we first got there (it felt like a sauna), but after a few minutes it got very cold. The combo platter was a bit on the small side -- I'd say it would be appropriate for a party of two (though you may want to order something else to supplement). As a party of three and with big appetites, we ended up ordering two of the combo platters. But at only $18/platter it was still a great bargain. Highly recommended.