Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ethiopic, DC

What is this I hear?  A great Ethiopian restaurant has opened in the H Street NE area??  And great it was. Ethiopic has actually been open for two years now, but I am just now venturing back to H Street NE area. This area has been on the upswing for a couple of years and is actually starting to come together. Ethiopic joins a few other restaurants in creating a scene that promises to draw diners to the area despite the lack of close Metrorail transportation.

Ethiopic was opened by Samuel Ergete and Meseret Bekele, both native Ethiopians. They wanted to bring their authentic cuisine to DC after traveling the world and dining at the world's best Ethiopian restaurants.

My friend and I were headed there around 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night. The outside of the restaurant isn't quite what I would have expected from what I had heard -- it just a plain neutral color with the name "Ethiopic Restaurant" in an odd comical font. But, when we entered inside, we were pretty impressed at how nice it was. From the wood floors to the brick walls and columns, this was already nicer than any other Ethiopian restaurant I'd been to. It was by no means upscale, but it was a very nice decor.

I started off with a glass of Zinfandel, which was actually pretty good for the price point.  After we placed our order, they brought us an Ethiopian bread that was served with some sort of oil. It was very dense and paired well with the spicy oil.

We ordered the vegetarian sampler so we could try all 7 of the vegetarian dishes.  After explaining that I was vegan, the waitress proceeded to ask if I wanted fish on my vegetarian sampler. Ugh. I get the feeling that "vegetarians" in Ethiopia are really pescetarians as they always have fish listed as an option on the vegetarian platters in Ethiopian restaurants.

The restaurant had a romantic feel to it with its dark wood tables, dim lighting, and piano music. Shortly after we began taking it all in, our entree arrived.  Talk about a lot of food. We had ordered the sampler for two, but there was enough food for three or four. It was the most food I've ever seen on a sampler platter.

I started by trying the Miser Wot, my favorite, which is the red split lentil dish simmered in a spicy berbere sauce. This dish was quite possibly the best Miser Wot I'd ever had -- perfectly spiced and cooked with the perfect texture. The trend continued from the Tikile Gomen, cabbage and potatoes, to the Dinich Wot, curried potatoes simmered with red onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers. The dishes were great with just the right amount of spice.  The Gomen, fresh collard greens in a mild sauce, and Kik Aletcha, yellow split peas in an onion and herb sauce were very flavorful as well. I would say my least favorite were the Shimbra Wot, the fried chickpea dumplings, and the Fosolia, an odd dish with mushrooms.

Throughout our dinner, we continued to ask for more injera, the spongy bread that you use to pick up your food, and they were very attentive.

At the end of the meal, we realized we had finished it all and wished we had worn our Mom jeans -- you know, the ones with the elastic bands. It was such a great meal that we just kept eating. Perhaps a bit gluttonous, but it was damn good.  In the end, I think I had the best Ethiopian I've ever had in a nice restaurant with great service.  Now I guess there are two reasons to go to the H Street NE area. Highly recommended.

401 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 675-2066

Ethiopic Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh, I love Ethiopian food. This looks like a nice place and the food looks great!

  2. It is! You'll have to try them sometime!