Cheap Eats 2016: Chercher

Cheap Eats 2016: Chercher
Good for Groups Good for Vegetarians

This rowhouse restaurant may have a Ninth Street address—on the restaurant row off U Street that’s known as Little Ethiopia—but it lies blocks from its competition. The cooking, too, stands apart, with a complexity and robustness that are testament to the unspoken but unmistakable desire of the operation, owned by Alemayehu Abebe, to cook for Ethiopian expats. You don’t have to have grown up in Addis to appreciate this passionately uncompromising approach. You might have tasted dozens of versions of beans and tomatoes, but it’s unlikely any has come close to this remarkable depth or richness. Likewise the yebeg wat, its hunks of lamb thickly coated in a stew-like sauce that looks more like melted chocolate than the red of an all-day marinara that some places favor, and whose flavor can’t be chased with a long sip of St. George, the Ethiopian equivalent of Heineken.

Also good: Kitfo (an Ethiopian beef tartare); mesir wat (red-lentil stew).

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.