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.
Ethiopian restaurants aren't unusual in DC, but this is the place to experience spicy, long-cooked stews and the sizzling theatrics of the meat-and-onion stir-fries called tibs.
The airy, brick-walled room feels casual, and diners settle in for lessons in the deployment of spice--some dishes singe, others release a more diffuse heat. The wonder is that cooking this robust speaks with such clarity. Anyone tempted to drop in for a quick meal before a show should know that Ethiopian culture regards our grab-and-go world with the same incomprehension as the French. In other words, prepare to linger.
What to get: Butcha, garlicky chickpea dip; azifa, lentil salad with mustard; doro wat, chicken leg braised in red-pepper-and-onion stew; lamb tibs, marinated leg of lamb, pan-seared with onions and peppers; kitfo,a beef tartare; veggie sampler, including kik alicha, a yellow split-pea stew.
Open Tuesday through Thursday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.