Pat and I decided to try something new tonight – Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant. I’ve had Ethiopian food before (once in Seattle, once in Minneapolis), but Pat had never tried it. I remembered it being really fun and so good, so I was really excited to find an Ethiopian restaurant in Houston. It started POURING on our way to dinner, and we had a hard time finding the place. It’s kind of hidden in a small shopping center, and we weren’t able to see the sign from the road due to the downpour.
The restaurant was really cute, and all the servers were very friendly. Our server helped to explain the menu when we first sat down. When Pat tried to order Kitfo (labeled as the most popular meal on the menu), our server asked if he had ever eaten raw meat before; he warned that raw meat can be difficult on the stomach of someone who is not used to eating raw meat. It was nice of him to warn us! Instead, Pat went with the Tibs – cooked beef w/ bell pepper, onion and spices.
I ordered the vegetarian combo – a house salad, Kik Alicha (split peas cooked with oil, onion and spices), Gomen (collard greens), Atkilt Wot (cabbage & carrots), Yemissir Wot (red lentil stew) and Shirro Wot (chick peas). It was all served with an amazing sauce, which I think the server called berbere.
It was all served family style on a sheet of Injera:
Ethiopian food is served with a sponge-like bread called Injera, which is made from Teff flour. Teff is the smallest grain in the world, and packs a lot of nutrition. It is high in protein, fiber, iron and calcium. Injera tasted a bit like sourdough bread, but it’s unlike any other bread I have tasted.
To eat the food, you break off a piece of Injera and use it to pick up a bite of food.
The split peas, red lentil stew and chick peas were my favorite. I especially liked the split peas dipped in the berbere sauce. I was not a fan of the collard greens – but I wouldn’t normally be anyway. The salad was alright, but it was awkward to try to eat it with the Injera. This would be the perfect place to take a vegetarian (I’m already plotting for my sisters’ next visits)!
The meat was good, but I really liked the grilled red and yellow bell peppers with the Injera. And then I ate what I thought was a slice of grilled green bell pepper…
… but was actually a jalapeno pepper. It could pass for a bell pepper, right?! My mouth was on fire. I don’t think I have ever eaten anything so spicy. The pepper fooled me!
We made good progress on our plate.
All that was left was the salad (nothing special), the cabbage (not bad, but I filled up on items I liked better), and the onions and jalapeno left from the beef dish.
We will definitely be back to Blue Nile! All this food was just $25. Next time we might stick to the vegetarian combo – it was just $11 while the beef dish alone was $12.
Have you ever tried Ethiopian food? Does anyone have a good recipe for Ethiopian food at home?