I’m normally open to any type of food any place or time, but I usually find Ethiopian food to be way too starchy for my tastes. A friend talked me into it last week, and I’m not if sure my opinion’s changed or if I’ve hit on the right balance of injera to scoop it up. Ethiopian food seems to be improving on me.
If you’ve never had Ethiopian food before, dish selections come ladled on a bed of injera bread in a platter meant for the table. You rip little pieces of bread out of the basket of injera and use it instead of utensils. It’s casual, unpretentious dining.
We chose a vegetarian combo so we could sample more for the individual entree price. Komodoro — a garden salad with the addition of spicy jalapenos, and Yeqaysur — a tangy beet and potato salad were our green choices. Neither were stand-outs, but they balanced out the heavier wat. I think that’s what saved me from the “sinking stomach” syndrome.
Of the wat dishes, the Kik Alicha, made with yellow split peas was the mildest. The Shirro, made with chick peas, and the Misser Wat, made with lentils in a cheeky berbere sauce, were hotter and more flavorful. Towards the end, I tried mixing the wat so I wasn’t tempted to use more bread to cut the tastier, hot dishes. Ib, a soft, pasty cheese that lacked in flavor, was the only real disappointment.
This meal was tasty down-home cooking, served fast, and didn’t cost more than $20 per person with an Ethiopian brew. Next time I’m in the mood for comfort food, I’ll consider a return trip to Ras Dashen.
Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant
5846 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60660