Monday, July 25, 2011

An Eloquent Evening of Ethiopian Food

On Carmageddon weekend, my friends and I braved the streets to venture to Rahel Ethiopian in Ethiopia town. Luckily, the streets were ghost-like, as most people were too afraid to leave their homes. We also lucked out in finding metered parking right across from the restaurant, which is a rarity for that area. I was so excited to eat Ethiopian food, and even better, at an entirely Vegan restaurant. With my $25 gift certificate in hand and my stomach rumbling loudly, I prepared myself for a savory feast.

We decided to order two sambussas ($2.50 each) to start and the Millennium Special ($30) as our main course, which included an array of curries and salad on a bed of injera bread and a dessert to end the meal.

First the sambussas came out.

These were crispy and fried and so pastry-like, save for the savory, perfectly spiced interior. The sambussas reminded me so much of their Indian counterpart, the samosa and are beautifully deep fried and slightly oily as well. The only difference seems to be the interior which consists of a delectable lentil mixture and is less spicy than a samosa, although just as well seasoned.

Next, we had our beautifully presented Millennium Special.

This was so colorful and even more tasty than it looks. There was such a range of curries from the mushy lentils, to the slightly crunchy green beans to to the chewy collard greens. Everything had a very slight spice and had its own unique flavor. The dishes also had a light dusting of salt to balance out the flavor. My favorite was the pumpkin stew, which was very sweet and had a creamy consistency. I also really enjoyed the various lentil stews which were all so savory. The salad was light and refreshing and complimented the curries so well. I have a love-hate relationship with the injera bread, as it sops up the curries perfectly and has such a fantastic sponginess, yet it soon after expands in my stomach and I quickly feel over-stuffed.

Lastly, our desserts came out, which were small slivers of cheesecake.

This portion was way smaller than it has been on previous visits, which was quite disappointing. Rahel's cheesecake is not reflective of how amazing Vegan cheesecakes can be and perhaps this is because they are an Ethiopian restaurant. Nevertheless, I feel like they could easily import a decadent dessert. This cheesecake was too bitter and not very creamy.

Overall, I really enjoyed the food. We ordered so much of it and somehow managed to eat it all. I love that Rahel has such tasty food, but the menu is fairly small. I would love for them to experiment with more dishes, as it would encourage me to visit them more often. Nevertheless, each dish is quite unique, with its own spices and flavorings. The meal was very inexpensive at only $10 (with tax and tip included). I will definitely be back when I am in the mood for a mildly spicy feast.

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