Saturday, November 21, 2009
Little Africa, Ethiopian Cuisine, 956 E Fulton - 11/19/09
Curiosity drove us to try this restaurant for lunch and a unique experience it was. The small space had nine booths and a small walled-off area that contained the kitchen. Decor is stark and uninteresting. One man served as cook and server. His English was limited so we were pretty much on our own regarding menu selections. The menu had nine items, each with a short description and photo. About half of them described a sauce or paste and we couldn’t figure out what each was supposed to accompany. The combination platter seemed the way to go but again, we had trouble deciding which items to select and hoped we could get a set selection.
To start, we had the spiced hot tea and a can of Coke. When our server/cook returned, we asked about the combination platter and he nodded and walked away. We weren’t sure what had just happened. Shortly thereafter he brought us bowls filled with a mysterious pink substance. We first thought it was a soup of some kind but he said something about washing so we think we were supposed to wash our hands in it.
A large, very attractive, platter of food then arrived that held each of the nine items on the menu. It was difficult to discern which dish was which as the food didn’t look like the photos. No utensils were provided so we assumed we were to use the flat bread to eat. This Ethiopian bread, called Injera, is very thin and soft with a spongy consistency. Rolls of it sat around the platter and one large round piece lay beneath the food. So we dug in and the food was delicious. Gomen (collard greens) Soy Curry, Alica (fresh vegetable mix) Tomato Salad (garlic, red wine & lime dressing), Spicy Red Lentils (curry, cayenne, ginger, garlic, and red onion) were among the many flavors on the platter. By the time we were finished, we wanted to roll up the leftovers in the platter bread and eat it like a taco. We missed our forks and being able to get more information but overall loved the food. If you’re looking for interesting food outside the American norm, try this restaurant. If you need meat at each meal, you’ll have to skip this restaurant.