401 H St., NE
Washington, DC 20002
Neighborhood: H Street NE, Capitol Hill, Northeast
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Ethiopian
Tuesday through Thursday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Union Station
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Chatty
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.