Turns out DC is home to a giant population of Ethiopians. The population here is second in size only to Ethiopia. In fact the Ethiopian mafia runs the taxi system in the greater Washington area as well. Thankfully Uber has removed the need to hail a taxi that may or may not be in said mafia. Coincidentally, there is also a large number of Ethiopian restaurants in the area. Thanks to recommendations by friends we chose to go to Zenebach (www.zenebachdc.com).
One group of friends I will always listen to when it comes to food recommendations is Michael and Mary DeVito. Their knowledge of good food in the area is better than anyone else that I know of. They recommended Zenebach to us and met us there for an early dinner on a rainy Wednesday.
We started the meal with a few different types of Ethiopian beers. Bridget ordered a Meta premium and I got a Harar. Both beers went well with the food and enhanced the meal.
I always enjoy going out ell eat with the DeVitos because there is never a need to look at the menu. As soon as they told us what was good we knew that was what we were going to order. We started with an appetizer of veggie sambusa. Veggie sambusa is a fried triangle pastry that is filled with spiced lentils. Unfortunately they forgot to bring these out as an appetizer but they were enjoyed nonetheless with the meal.
If you tell me that I can eat my entire meal with no silverware then I’m 100% in. In traditional Ethiopian cuisine they serve a huge platter with a spongy flat bread that covers the entire surface area, called Injera.
The Injera is then topped with different meats and vegetables. The food is shared with the entire table. Everyone dives in and eats with their hands. The injera is broken apart and used as a substitute for a fork. On top of our injera we ordered derek tibs, curry goat, and kitfo.
Derek tibs is ground lamb mixed with onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. The curry goat was served as a stew in a small bowl. The kitfo was the most interesting part of the meal. Kitfo is a minced meat that can be served many different ways, one is raw. Hearing that this was an option we thought, what the hell why not.
The kitfo was much different than anything I’ve ever had but it was delicious. By then end of the meal I wanted to soak the rest of the injera in the curry goat stew because it was so good. With these meats we were also given a side of spinach, potatoes and lentils. The injera tends to help fill you up and by the end of our meal we were so stuffed, but quite happily.
The rain was gone, the injera was demolished, the beer was enjoyed. After having our second African restaurant we are looking forward towards our next meal from this continent.