Posted 31 August 2007 - 09:45 AM
Let me begin by saying that even in foreign countries where I don't speak the language, I rarely encounter a language barrier like I have here, one made even more impenetrable by the size of our group. Despite painstaking -- and painful -- discussions, the raw meat came out cooked, some dishes never appeared and, stuff we thought we'd been told they'd 86'd came out instead. Don't come expecting a seamless dining experience.
But really, we didn't care. It was great company, for one. And the service was gracious to the point that they left the restaurant to get us Ethiopian beer when we expressed disappointment with the Heineken. And the food...
The Doro Wat -- chicken stewed with beriberi -- was excellent, boasting an almost cinnamon-y base that made it vaguely reminiscent of good mole (though co-conspirator gfron1 was bummed that it wasn't served with the traditional hard-boiled egg. In this case it's clear what comes first). Ethiopian restaurants tend to cook the Kitfo -- spiced, raw ground beef with clarified butter and farmer's cheese -- and so it pays to explain to them that you want it raw, which we did in this case. But, to no avail. This was a bummer in that when the raw stuff finally arrived it was possibly the best I've had, but we were too full to polish it off.
Gomen, steamed greens, were fresh and refreshing in contrast to the more agressive stews, and the mild lamb stew (Yebeg Alicha) was, again, spiced with the delicate but elaborate hand. The tripe flavored with liver (sounds like a kid's worst nightmare, doesn't it?) was so good even my wife liked it. And almost everything tasted a little better with either the spicy red and green purees served as a condiment.
To finish, the owner/hostess/matriarch waved a pan of freshly roasted coffee beans under our nose. Sadly, not on a Monday night. Next time, though.
Comfortable room -- in fact much more organic feeling than some of the better known spots in the neighborhood.
Queen Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
1917 9th St
Washington DC 20001
Phone (202) 232-5665
Thinking about the government.
Posted 31 August 2007 - 10:23 AM
Posted 31 August 2007 - 10:25 AM
Posted 31 August 2007 - 10:32 AM
The service was completely overwhelmed by the size of our party. It would be nice to go with a smaller group next time (not that there was anything wrong with the company ) and see if it improves.
Edited by hjshorter, 31 August 2007 - 11:33 AM.
In Good Thyme
Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:17 AM
Joking aside, a smaller group would have been able to navigate the language, better than we did, by menu finger pointing, but it wasn't happening on this night.
My only criticism on the food was with the spiced tea. I don't think I've ever had an Ethiopian tea that I didn't like. The one I had at this dinner was too watered down in my iced version...which was my mistake, although I always get the iced version no matter what time of year. Tea aside, this was a wonderful meal, and I agree - great company.