Cheap Eats 2012: Meaza

Cheap Eats 2012

Meaza Zemedu has claimed that her restaurant—which includes a
butcher shop, grocery, and banquet room in addition to a multi-tiered
dining room—is the largest Ethiopian restaurant in the country. We can’t
verify that, but we can attest to the depth of her sauces and the
complexity of her spicing.

Zemedu’s doro wat is a reminder of why, in Ethiopia,
the dish is reserved for holidays and special occasions—its intense,
brick-colored gravy unfolds its secrets slowly—while her kitfo, a
beef tartare, employs cardamom, berbere, and caraway seeds to thrilling
effect. Among vegetable dishes, the “special vegi combo platter” is a
must, especially for groups, offering as many as eight different stews,
including a creamy, ginger-stoked rendition of the yellow-lentil porridge
kik alicha and vivid versions of misir wat, a lentil
stew, and shiro, a smooth dip made from powdered

Also good: Lentil sambusas; beef
tibs; awaze lamb tibs; gomen (collard greens);
azifa (lentil salad).

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.