Ethiopian food has been one of the few cuisines that I had not tried yet, and I think it is one of the few foods that I am not yet ready for. I hope it was just the restaurant. I had read about this little place a while back but never realized that it was so close to our dining range.
I didn’t really know what to expect, at all. The place itself was pretty empty, just us and some other table, but then again, it was a Tuesday night. I was pretty starving, like usual. I knew they were known for their vegetarian options so of course chose the Vegetarian Combination, which came with several different stews and their salad. But since I’m still trying to gain a little weight, also ordered the “Alicha Wot”(Mild Lamb Stew delicately seasoned with garlic, ginger, and other spices) and an additional “Yeshiro Alicha”(Powdered peas sauce, seasoned with assorted spices) since it wasn’t offered with the latter combination.
The order came pretty fast. Everything we ordered served on one huge platter with an abundance of the Injera just about everywhere, stacked on the side and underneath all the food serving it as a plate and eating utensils for everything. Thin, spongy and sour in taste and texture with a crepe-like appearance, this is what Tortillas are for Mexicans bur times 100. (I thought I had it bad).
Never having tried this before, I wasn’t sure if it was just I or it was the food. Everything kind of had that unsatisfying “buffet taste”; you know the one when something has been kept alive by heat lamps for several hours taste? Yeah.that one. The lamb had an extremely gamy taste since the meat contained many small bones almost in every bite, only allowing me to eat very little of it. Very tough and dry. The Cabbage Stew (Atkilit Alicha) your usual combination of potatoes and carrots but this one tasted excessively starchy that still did not compare with the overpowering taste of paprika in it. The Collard Greens (Gomen Wot) was very reminiscent of spinach and being that I don’t like cooked greens, couldn’t past this neither. The two lentil stews were probably the highlight of the night. Although still dry, the tastes were not too strong for me. I couldn’t take the Alicha Wot at all. Since the peas were dried, the taste was so concentrated. It was like eating a whole bowl of peas in one injera-full. The salad wasn’t great neither, tomatoes and onions and bagged romaine lettuce all in some Italian-like dressing.
Half ways through the meal, the lady/chef came over and instructed us on eating everything with the injera only. I must have eaten a yard of this stuff. Even though it was weird in taste and texture, I still couldn’t stop myself from eating it. Ethiopian food is one of the few cuisines in the world was not influenced, fused or blended with any other culture. So maybe it was just my weak modern palate that couldn’t handle the ancient, rustic flavors of this unique cuisine. But with all this, I am still looking forward to trying it again. But next time maybe somewhere different.
10401 Washington Blvd,
Culver City, CA