It’s been awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of tasting Ethiopian food. My first experience in the ‘Burgh was at a friend’s recent birthday lunch, and boy am I glad that she chose Abay. It’s a small-ish restaurant craftily hidden (from me) in the East End between giants like Whole Foods and the soon-to-be Target. The restaurant was quiet and calming and the servers were very helpful. I mean, how many people really know what injera is anyway?
Our group of 8 (with 3 veggies!) ordered 2 combination platters- one veg and one meat. I was already a happy camper knowing that I would get to try a little bit of everything on the veg platter…a personal smorgasbord of Ethiopian goodness! I sampled: Kay Sir Dinich (Potatoes and fresh beets stewed and blended with garlic, ginger and onions), Shiro Wat (Finely ground split peas, lentils and chickpeas simmered in berbere and a combination of seasonings), Tikil Gomen (Lightly spiced cabbage, carrots, onions and tomatoes stewed in a mild sauce), and Ayib Be Gomen (Fresh collard greens blended with Abay’s homemade cheese).
I loved all of our choices, but my favorites were the thick and spicy Shiro Wat and the perfectly stewed and bright purple Kay Sir Dinich. I LOVE me some beets, especially when I don’t have to prepare them! I truly appreciated that all of the unique flavors our tastebuds encountered really balanced each other well. The injera fit in so nicely and sopped up the Shiro Wat perfectly. Oh, I left with a full and h.a.p.p.y. belly!
P.S. I love that the bottom of Abay’s menu page reads: Abay is a non-smoking, BYOB establishment. Since wine may provide certain medical benefits and may lead you to believe the person you are with is more attractive or engaging than he or she actually is, drinking it responsibly with your meal is encouraged. A corkage fee of $2.5 per bottle will be assessed.
And yes, we did enjoy some lovely white wine with lunch and the company around the table did become more attractive throughout the meal