Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

We went to Ghenet

I was so excited when I found out an Ethiopian restaurant was opening in Park Slope! It's not a cuisine we have very often. The last time was in Washington DC, one month after Jasper was born. For me the appeal of Ethiopian is less about the flavors and more about the communal platters and the novelty of eating with injera bread, a sourdough pancake you use to scoop up the curried meats, lentils, and vegetables.

We met some friends at Ghenet Sunday night for an early-bird family dinner (best time to take two four-year-old boys to a restaurant). The service was warm, something parents always appreciate, and the dining room has a more modern sensibility than other Ethiopian restaurants I've been to.

I liked the food -- we shared a combo platter and there was plenty of variety. Our friends had just had spicy Thai the night before, though, and found the Ethiopian a little bland in comparison. In fact, we got to talking about how much Ethiopian resembles Indian food, and how that sets up expectations for more intense flavor and spice -- and a longing for yogurt. Ethiopian, even in its spicy dishes, tends to be more subtly flavored.

The dessert menu had tiramisu and baklava, neither the sort of dessert any of us felt complimented the Ethiopian food. They also have a few sorbets, this night only green apple but most nights a ginger, which sounds perfect.

The standout was the buttered coffee, with its rich, caramel flavor.


MissGinsu said...

I really love their Manhattan branch, but I've always thought that the food should cost a little less, what with the price of materials being pretty cheap. I suspect there's someplace awesome and cheap in Harlem. I just rarely go that far north.

But I love that it's one of the few cuisines that naturally pairs with honey mead. :)

ks said...

I agree that the best thing about Ethiopian food is the way it is served. (Eating with your hands, while scooping up goop on pancakes! What's not to love there?) The second best thing is how it tastes. It is quite an amazingly complex cuisine. We live near several good E. restaurants, but for some dumb reason we only dine at them when friends visit from places where they can't get Ethiopian food.

As for making it at home...well, I've done that. It's fun but SO incredibly labor intensive (so a perfect way to kill most of a week while in grad school.) But, it will teach one the use of such obscure spices as fenugreek. And HOLY COW, the amount of clarified butter in the recipes is enough to give one heart palpitations just in the reading.

I once listened to a proclaimed "vegan" talk about how much he loved to eat Ethiopian when he came to St. Louis. I didn't have the fat-saturated heart to tell him about the pounds of butter they use in pretty much everything. (heee heee.)

Happy New Year and Shalom.