Latest on Ethiopian in Los Angeles
It's been a long time since I've been over to the Fairfax area for Ethiopian food. Planning to go with 6 others in a few weeks. Genet is my first choice, but we want to go for lunch and they're not open. Recent experiences and recommendations? Messob?
I haven't been to Messob, but Awash is my favorite Ethiopian in the city.
The injera there is always moist and spongy.
In my experience, their vegetable platter trumps all the others. In Little Ethiopia, I've been to Merkato, Rahel, and Nyala, and have experienced undercooked lentils, overcooked/flavorless veggies and dry injera.
None of that has happened to me any of the times I've been to Awash.
That being said:
1. Meat is not Awash's strong suit, It is by no means bad or inedible, but all the tibbs are better at Merkato.
2. Sometimes the service can be very, very, slow but that is inconsistent and actually seems to be improving from when I first started going there ~five years ago.
If you were to go, I would recommend the whole fish, and the veggie plate.
We like Rosalind's; we would like to try Meals By Genet but she's open only for dinner, and we never go that far for dinner unless we're meeting people. We have tasted her food at the Taste of LA events, but eating off paper plates standing up is not the same somehow. Especially if you're old and have been mostly standing in too many lines for hours.
Rosalind's is pretty good, though, as long as you get a nice server and fresh food, as we did on two out of our three trips there. Their injera is good enough for Genet, who gets hers from them, and plenty good enough for me. The meat dishes I've had are very good too, especially the lamb. The really starchy veggie things I don't like much no matter who does them, and actually most of the small-bites items are really good only when very fresh. On our second visit, of course with friends who'd never had any Ethiopian, we got a surly, unhelpful server who brought us stuff that seemed to have come off an underperforming steam table and possibly left over from yesterday. But then we met another couple down there last summer and had a great meal from a friendly and helpful server.
Merkato is always my favorite and I have eaten at most of the places in Little Ethiopia. However, I can say that one of the scientists who I used to work with and is Ethiopian used to go to Awash (I have not been). I know he liked it, but I also know that his friend was the owner. The other Ethipoian scientist that I still work with agrees with me about Merkato (he used to prefer Messob) but went back to Merkato after conversations we have had and now always gets food from Merkato (if his family is not cooking).
Genet really is as wonderful as they say, as is Rahel.
I tried the new-ish Little Ethiopia on a Groupon once a few years ago, and it was not good at all. Bland stews, dry injera.