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.
We’re no strangers to tibs, Ethiopia’s answer to fajitas, but every time we dive into the sizzling skillet of lega tibs at this cafe we feel as though we’re eating the dish for the first time. The quality of the lamb is vastly superior to the competition’s, and the kitchen delivers tenderness beneath the crusty exterior. The dish’s excellence represents something new to the scene, but the slightly upmarket approach doesn’t constitute a dumbing-down of the cuisine—the meat and veggie stews, or wats, might not overwhelm with heat and spice, but they’re plenty complex, teasing with hints of ginger, cardamom, koseret, and korerima.
Also good: Doro wat, stewed chicken leg; kitfo, beef tartare with butter sauce and crumbled cheese; vegetarian sampler; butcha, a chickpea salad; azifa, a green-lentil salad.