New U/Logan Circle
New U/Logan Circle
1114 U St., NW (12th St.) Washington, DC, 20009 (202) 667-8735
Past midnight all week long this "solid anchor of the U Street renaissance" is 'jammed with Ethiopian expats "enjoying " fresh, cheap and delicious "fare delivered by a "friendly" staff wearing " authentic garb"; "try to dip in" after 10 PM "when the music starts" courtesy of live native bands, where using injera bread to scoop up the "unpretentious", "unbeatable" edibles is "lots of fun if you like eating with your hands."
Washington's Little Ethiopia
A New Cluster of Restaurants Brings Exotic (Yet Inexpensive) Appeal to Ninth and U St
By Walter Nicholls
"... But the best-known Ethiopian restaurant in the neighborhood is the six-year-old Dukem. Owner Tefera Zewdie says that when he opened, the majority of his customers were from back home. "So much has changed in the last year and a half," says Zewdie, who has an adjoining carryout. On weekend nights in Dukem's outdoor area, there's a barbecue where Ethiopian-spiced New York strip steaks are grilled. "Now, I have far more white and African American customers," Zewdie says.
The Washington region, with its 200,000 people of Ethiopian descent, has the largest Ethiopian population outside of the country itself, according to an unofficial estimate by the embassy. With the addition of Etete, which specializes in vegetarian meals, 10 Ethiopian restaurants now are clustered at U Street east of 13th and in the 1900 block of Ninth Street. Each has its distinct ambiance and fans.
The new enclave has twice as many Ethiopian restaurants as Adams Morgan, where Ethiopian entrepreneurs began opening food businesses in the late 1970s. The exotic and inexpensive cuisine attracts not only fellow countrymen but especially students and tourists. Meals are a communal, social activity, and there is no need for a knife and fork. Ethiopian is all about finger food.
Diners gather around a single, circular platter covered with a soft, 16-inch pancake or bread called injera . Spicy stews, seasoned vegetables and pureed legumes are artfully placed around the pancake. Additional injera are served alongside. That's when it's time to tear a section of the bread and use it to gather a mouthful from the assorted offerings. When the underlying pancake, soaked with sauce, is consumed, the meal is considered complete.