So what’s your favorite Ethiopian restaurant in a city home to a large Ethiopian community since the seventies? How can you pick a favorite? Is this Sophie’s Choice or something?
But sometimes, you just have to pick a place to have dinner. Don’t make a huge deal of it.
For the newbies, Ethiopian food is served on a platter of injera, a spongy flat bread. Use the bread to scoop up the cabbage, or lentils, or lamb, or tomato salad, etc. Repeat until just full. Do not eat more! The injera will expand in your stomach, making you useless the rest of the night. Repeat, do not overeat! Over.
If you’re in U Street or Adams Morgan, you’ll have your choice of traditionally fantastic places. On U Street between 9th and 13th you’ll find Etete, Dukem and Madjet. I’ve heard different people tell me that each one of these is their all time favorite, but I choose Etete.
Madjet is small and sincere, with a bathroom so tight you may never escape. Dukem is notable for the delicious food, the whole fried fish for a dollar extra, and the painfully gorgeous waitresses [note: I hear Miss Ethiopia 2005 used to work
works here]. But Etete has the best dining experience. The service is not slow, the food is amazing, and the bustle is just right for DC: not too crowded, not too solitary.
In Adams Morgan, Meskerem is a giant of a place, with three floors of seating. The food was excellent, but I was put off by being charged for a bottle of water instead of being served tap. Get a Brita!
You can’t go wrong with any of these choices, just keep in mind what I said earlier: stop when you’re full! Over!