You gotta love that Ethiopian restaurants revitalize an age-old dining concept: sitting and sharing. Addis Abeba is no exception, tagging eating as a celebration among friends and family; food is presented on a large communal platter (called the mesob
), dishes are shared, meals are savored.
After 15 years on the corner of Clark and Addison, the East African gem has brought its simple and succulent wares to Evanston. Upon entry into the understated establishment, two friends and I noticed a cartoon sign condemning the use of forks and knives. Our kind waitress (who wore the same image plastered to her uniform) explained Ethiopians traditionally scoop bites of food in small mounds into pieces of the spongy injera bread.
She guided us through the meat and vegetable lists of the healthy and simple menu. We opted to share three "combos," our choice of two vegetarian and one meat items each (a bargain at $11.50 per person). Table favorites included yeater kit wot, yellow split peas cooked with garlic and cinnamon, shish-kebob, chicken breast marinated in wine and onions and served with spicy yogurt sauce and gomen, spinach sauteed with onions and cardamom.
After conversing with the friendly and informative staff (including the executive chef/owner who learned all traditional cooking from his mother), I vowed to forever boycott my American fast-food mentality. After all, a quick trip to Ethiopia—and its culinary celebration—is right down the road.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Carly Schwartz