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.
The best of the area’s distinguished contingent of Ethiopian restaurants, this low-lit, handsomely appointed haunt seduces with gracious service and soulful cooking. Wats, or stews, which form the backbone of the cuisine, have a cleanness seldom seen in such hearty cooking. The adventurous vegetarian can assemble a satisfying feast but will miss out on superlative renditions of lamb tibsand kitfo, a beef tartare (to bring out its full flavor, order it lightly cooked rather than raw) brought to life with berbere, cardamom, and korerema. When it comes to your glass, bypass the wines—the best partners for the spicy stews are Ethiopian beers, including St. George and Harar.
Don’t miss: Butcha (chickpea purée); doro wat (chicken and hard-boiled egg in berbere-spiced sauce); shiro (red split peas in a velvety purée); azifa (mustardy lentil salad); kik alicha (yellow-split-pea purée); vegetarian sampler.
Open: Tuesday through Thursday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.