H Street NE, Capitol Hill, Northeast
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: Monday through Thursday 5 to 10, Friday and Saturday noon to 10.
Best Dishes Butcha (ground chickpeas and jalapenos); doro wat, a chicken stew; kitfo, minced raw beef; vegetarian sampler with boiled lentils, split peas, potato/cabbage salad, gomen, and tomato/onion salad.
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
Ethiopians have a term for cooking that plays to Western tastes with muted spicing and larger cuts of meat: Europian. This former corner store in DC’s gentrifying H Street district makes a concerted effort to hew to its origins. Its vegetable stews have zip and body, and the excellent doro wat has a chunky gravy of berbere and caramelized onions that deserves the kind of contemplative appreciation usually reserved for fine French cooking.
Dinner unspools in a tiny room warmed with tastefully chosen fabrics, works from co-owner Meseret Bekele’s art collection, and a few mesobs—woven tables and stools traditional in Ethiopian homes and restaurants. Europian it’s not.
Also good: Beet-and-potato salad; buticha, a spicy chickpea purée; lamb tibs.
Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for lunch. Inexpensive.