100 Best Restaurants 2009: Etete
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
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Address: 1942 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-232-7600
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, 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 11 to 1.
Nearby Metro Stops: U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo, Shaw-Howard University
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Sambusas (lentil or beef turnovers); wats such as chicken-and-egg doro wat and yebeg wat, a lamb stew; vegetarian sampler of azifa (green lentils), yekik alicha (yellow-lentil-and-onion stew), and yemisir wat (red lentils); gomen (collard greens); kitfo.
Price Details: Appetizers $2.75 to $5; entrées $10 to $14.99.

Cuisine: Among local Ethiopians, the name Tiwaltengus Shenegelgn is on par with the name Michel Richard among foodies. Stevie Wonder seeks her out whenever he’s in town. What’s the fuss? Etete, as Shenegelgn is known—it means “mama” in Amharic—cooks with the finesse of a demanding craftswoman, her peppery stews hearty and complex but never burdensome.

Mood: With lacquered tables and wine-bar-style lights, this dining room has the feel of a modish bistro. Etete occasionally makes the rounds, like any proud chef, but she’s much more likely to dispense gomen (buttery, jalapeño-laced collards) from a long-handled pot than talk about her sourcing. An expansion has created a second dining room upstairs to handle the overflow from young urbanites on their way to and from clubs.

Best for: Leisurely lunches or dinners with friends and family. As with dining in Europe, expect to be left alone for long stretches and to flag down your server for the check.

Best dishes: Sambusas, deep-fried three-cornered pastries filled with lentils; berbere-powered stews, including doro wat, which comes with chicken and a hard-boiled egg, and yebeg wat, with cubes of lamb; vegetarian sampler, which might include gomen, yekik alicha (a soupy split-bean stew), and azifa (green-lentil stew mixed with a fiery Ethiopian mustard and served cool).

Insider tips: If you’re dining with a group, the fasting platter—an array of vegetable stews—is a good choice to balance a mainly meat-filled meal.

Service: ••½

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews