Ethiopic In Washington D.C. – Ethiopian Food Doesn’t Get Better Than This!

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

by Danielle Bussone

 

Our second stop in our celebratory trip New York City, Veggin’ Out and About! visited Ethiopic in downtown D.C. By now you should be aware that we at VOAA have noses for Ethiopian cuisine and like hungry blood-hounds we single-mindedly pursue the scent to unearth some of the healthiest, most delicious food on the planet.

 

Ethiopic - Located Near Union Station in Washington, DC

Ethiopic – Located Near Union Station in Washington, DC

 

As vegans we’ve learned that Ethiopian cuisine is always a safe bet. When visiting an Ethiopian restaurant it is never necessary to ask whether the vegetable dishes contain animal products; they won’t. Ethiopia has a long history of plant-based dining in their culture. Because of the numerous fasting days dictated by their church, in which no animal products are allowed to be consumed, animal-free dishes are a natural part of Ethiopian cuisine.

Ethiopic rates among the very best Ethiopian restaurants we’ve visited to date. We ordered a vegetarian combination platter for two, which consisted of seven different dishes served on a spongy flat-bread called Injera. Injera, if you’ve never tried it, is a wonderful, stretchy, spongy bread made from Teff, arguably one of the smallest grains in the world and one of the highest in nutrients. The dough is fermented for several days and is then poured onto a special griddle called a mitad. Bubbles form as it is cooking, creating small holes in the bread called “eyes.” These eyes are what give the injera its stretchy, spongy and absorbent qualities. Injera is a thin bread with a consistency somewhere between a crepe and a pancake and has a slightly sour flavor. Stews are arranged in little piles on top of the bread and served with a basket of injera on the side, rolled up like cigars. These are to be torn and used to pinch bite-sized pieces of the stews between your fingers. Then pop them into your mouth! No utensils are needed or offered at most Ethiopian restaurants.

 

Ethiopic-Vegetarian Combo II

Ethiopic-Vegetarian Combo II

 

Ethiopian food is typically spicy and can bring on some serious heat if one is not prepared. We love spicy food and adore the kick Ethiopia brings to the table, but many restaurants reduce the heat to accommodate the sensitive American palate. The sour injera mitigates the spiciness as well, though I can’t explain how it accomplishes this. It just does.

 

Ethiopic Interior

Ethiopic Interior

 

Ethiopic has a charming, relaxing decor with a pleasant, knowledgable staff.  The food was some of the best we’ve sampled anywhere, and we’ve experienced some great Ethiopian meals! There were a couple of dishes we had never before seen and were excited to try them. One was a garlicy potato dish called Dinich Wot. Absolutely delicious, Dinich Wot is a stew of large chunks of curried potatoes simmered with red onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers, olive oil, and fresh herbs and spices. The potatoes were cooked to perfection, practically melting in our mouths while titillating our olfactories with a subtle aroma of garlic. The peppers are not broken, which allows the potatoes to be infused with the subtle flavor of peppers without adding heat. This is a very mild dish.

 

Another entree that was new to us was Shimbra Asa Wot (Wot meaning stew), spicy chickpea dumplings seasoned with red onions, garlic, red pepper, olive oil, and spices. The remaining dishes are old favorites, juxtaposing mild with spicy, there is something for everyone. Miser Wot with spicy red lentils, Gomen Wot, fresh stewed collard greens, Kik Aletcha – mild yellow split peas with turmeric and coriander, Fasolia – caramelized green beans and onions, and Tikel Gomen – a mild cabbage and carrot dish. For lighter appetites one can order a smaller platter with only four vegetable options. Finally, always served in the middle of the platter was, Timatim, a salad of freshly diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. I think of this salad as a palate cleanser to be eaten between bites of stews.

 

Dimly lit evening interior

Dimly lit evening interior

 

Another treat we discovered at Ethiopic was an array of Ethiopian beers. Rich and I tried the one called “Amber” which had a slightly honey flavor, while my beautiful niece, Rae, enjoyed the lager. All in all, I’d say this was a high quality dining experience at a medium price range. Check out Ethiopic the next time you are in our nation’s capital. Within walking distance from Union Station, you will be glad you made the trek.

 

 

Co-founder and editor of Veggin’ Out and About, Danielle writes restaurant reviews, profiles and interviews of people making a difference in the plant-based community. She author is of, “Time For Change: Whole Foods For Whole Health,” available January, 2015.

Danielle’s region is SW Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, and anywhere she happens to stop for sustenance along the road. Contact Danielle directly to share your restaurant finds, to make comments or just to say hello.

2 Comments

  1. Thomas Passamonte

    Hi Danielle, hope everything is going well with you and Rich.

    I Heard a rumor your book is out, if this is true may I purchase 2 books.

    Thanks,

    Tom Passamonte

    • Danielle Bussone

      TIME FOR CHANGE – Whole Foods For Whole Health will be published 1 January 2015. You can find it on http://www.amazon.com or go to the Upper menu tab called, Time For Change, on http://www.vegginoutandabout.com and you’ll receive a 40% discount for the first two weeks of January. The discount is only available through VOAA. Thanks, Tom
      Have A Happy and Healthy 2015!
      Danielle

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