Editors' pick

Etete

Ethiopian, Vegetarian/Vegan
$$$$ ($14 and under)
Etete photo
Chris Combs/For The Post
'

Editorial Review

2009 Fall Dining Guide

By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

Only after we sit down at one of many small restaurants in Shaw serving doro wat does my dining partner fess up: "I don't really care for Ethiopian food." I insist that we stay at Etete anyway, and I order dishes that I hope will change his mind. It isn't long before our server shows up with a big silver platter lined with injera -- the tangy fermented pancake that does double duty as a utensil -- and decorated with all our requests. In the center is a mound of truly "special" minced raw beef surrounded by cottage cheese in three hues, as well as chopped cooked beef scattered with jalapeno slices. Circling the border of the plate, meanwhile, are half a dozen vegetable purees and salads, a kaleidoscope of orange (lentils), yellow (cabbage), red (tomatoes) and green (collards). I dig into the feast, scooping up some cool raw beef with a bit of that injera and dipping the morsel in a pinch of mitmita, Ethiopia's fiery dried pepper mix. Next stop: some of the searing, stewlike beef. Volleying between the meat dishes, I go through a basket of rolled-up injera as I also graze on the earthy and satisfying vegetable dishes. Happily, I have eager help. Minutes into dinner, the naysayer at my table has an epiphany, and by meal's end, he even asks to take the leftovers home.