Cheap Eats 2008: Etete
Comments () | Published June 20, 2008
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Address: 1942 Ninth St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-232-7600
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Ethiopian
Opening Hours: Open daily 11 PM to 1 AM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: U Street/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.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

Why go: In a city full of Ethiopian restaurants, none matches the complexity and refinement of these spice-laden stews or tops the graciousness and warmth of this cozy storefront cafe—newly expanded, with 130 seats.

What to get: The crispy, lentil-filled pastries called sambusas; kitfo, the Ethiopian steak tartare, best taken with a bite of soft white cheese and a pinch of incendiary mitmita; yebeg wat, in which cubes of fried lamb are bathed in a rich red-pepper sauce; a vegetable platter that includes azifa, a mustard-spiked green-lentil dish, the soft collards known as gomen, a stew of potatoes and carrots and kik alicha, and a creamy yellow-lentil stew.

Best for: A quiet lunch for two or a noisy gathering of friends to break bread—or rather to tear injera, the sourdough crepe used as utensil, bread, and serving plate.

Insider tip: The coffee ceremony is excellent, the dark, thick brew a welcome antidote to chain coffee—making Etete a good spot for a late-afternoon pick-me-up. For something sweet, walk across the street to Chez Hareg, a terrific European-style bakery run by Haregewine Messert, an alum of the Ritz-Carlton pastry kitchen, for shortbread cookies and miniature elephant ears.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 06/20/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews