Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dukem = Awesem!

As open-minded as I claim my palate to be, Ethiopian is one cuisine that usually escapes my repertoire. I tried it once in college as part of a dinner for the Phelan Multicultural Community (PMC) Program that I was a student of at the University of San Francisco. For some reason, I didn't care for it at the time. I mean, I loved the process of tearing off pieces of the injera, a spongy type of flatbread, to pick up morsels of savory dishes lying on top of a layer of more injera. What wasn't to like, especially given back then, when I would have had munchies for all sorts of culinary delights. One of life's mysteries, I guess.

My friend, Wine Diva Deb, came to town this weekend from Seattle and we were trying to figure out where to go for dinner. I wanted to take her someplace that was "very DC" and she was craving either Ethiopian or Thai. Now, while I may not have experienced much of the cuisine, I at least know this. DC is THE town for Ethiopian food here in the US and I happen to live in THE neighborhood to enjoy the best it has to offer.

The best of the best I hear from native Ethiopians and food fans alike is Dukem on U Street, NW & 12th. Aside from it's authentic cuisine, it's simply delicious. We had no idea what to order (Deb was only a little more seasoned than I), and she came up with a great idea, just ask the waitress the most popular dishes. I was a bit apprehensive, only for fear of ending up with the Kitfo (beef tartare). I did try it before back in Seattle with my friend Traca, and thought it was delicious, but could only go as far as a couple of bites versus a whole dish. Luckily, the lovely waitress recommended one of the combination samplers(!).

Behold #27
Six dishes of yumminess (clockwise from the top): cabbage, minchet abesh (chopped lean ground beef braised in milled ginger and garlic sauce), tibs (cubed lamb with onion, rosemary, jalapeno pepper and spicy awaze sauce), tomato salad, lamb wot (stew), spicy splint lentils & greens; (center): doro wot (chicken stew simmered in berbere/red pepper sauce with garlic & onion).

Served with a glass of Ethiopian honey wine and/or Ethiopian beer and you have an excellent meal.

1114 - 1118 U St., NW @ 12th
Washington D.C. 20009
Tel: 202-667-8735

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