Cheap Eats 2008: Queen Makeda
Comments () | Published June 1, 2008
Queen Makeda
Address: 1917 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-232-5665
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw
Cuisines: Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, usually a wat or thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera (always with the right hand) to scoop up the entrees and side dishes
Opening Hours: Open daily from 11 AM to 2 AM.
Nearby Metro Stops: U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Shiro, a yellow split-pea stew; bone-in lamb in alicha, a sauce made from turmeric, garlic, and onion; gored gored, stir-fried cubes of beef in a peppery sauce; kitfo, an Ethiopian steak tartare.

Why go: Ethiopian food is grandma food, and the second-best place to experience one of DC’s most interesting and rewarding cuisines is at this grandma-driven establishment, a chartreuse townhouse across the street from Little Ethiopia’s reigning matriarch, Etete. Kefaynesh Demssie is the cook and co-owner (with son Sofonias Amde), serving up rich, aggressively spiced stews in a remodeled townhouse that boasts hand-stitched canopies and a tiki bar.

What to get: Shiro, a yellow split-pea stew as creamy as a velouté and with a cinnamon perfume; thick, bone-in hunks of lamb in alicha, a spicy yellow sauce made from turmeric, garlic, and onion; gored gored, stir-fried cubes of beef in a light, peppery sauce; spicy, buttery kitfo, an Ethiopian steak tartare.

Best for: A civilized meal in a setting that encourages lingering.

Insider tip: Asking for extra helpings—almost unthinkable at any other restaurant—might here elicit a smile of pride from the sweet-natured staff.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 06/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews