Addis Ababa

African, Ethiopian
$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

NOTE: The restaurant runs a lunch buffet weekdays.

Addis Ababa is better than the sum of its parts. Of the a la carte choices, I'm partial to the kitfo, Ethiopia's nod to steak tartare, seasoned with herbed butter and blazing with red pepper, or the tamer doro wat, chicken simmered in a brick-red sauce of onions, chilies and clarified butter and served with a whole cooked egg. For the most variety, pick one of the combination plates, a sampling of four dishes, for $12.50 or less. These include rustic stews of chicken, lamb and beef, plus a vegetable (the best choices are the tangy collard greens and vibrant chopped tomato-and-onion salad). Lentil dishes tend to be blah, beef dishes tough. In typical Ethiopian fashion, everything gets served on injera, the pleasantly sour and spongy pancake that also functions as your eating utensil: Just tear a piece off, wrap it around a morsel of food and bring it to your mouth. Uncertain? Newbies have been known to get hand-fed instruction from the more attentive waitresses.

--Tom Sietsema