On The Simpsons, the always-vanilla Marge visits an Ethiopian restaurant, tries a few bites of the cuisine, and has a complete gastronomic revelation - and starts writing a food blog.
I've got the food blog part down, but I still had not tried Ethiopian food until tonight. We popped on over to Park Slope to Ghenet Brooklyn for my first Ethiopian meal. The restaurant has a romantic minimalist ambiance and the staff are quiet, albeit nice. I had no idea what to order so I just sat back and agreed to whatever my dining companions wanted.
Very soon, our table was graced with a large platter that resembled an artist's palate: a layer of bread topped with colorful globs of dip-ables. I think among the things we ate were beef in a red sauce, chicken in a yellow sauce, string beans and carrots, lentils, spicy beans, and collard greens. I had often heard about the no-utensils rule at Ethiopian restaurants and although the idea of eating with just my hands and the bread was daunting, I found it pretty easy. I first took a bite of the bread alone and found it to be unique: a little bit sour, with a spongy texture, definitely unlike anything I've ever had before. I was not a big fan of the taste, and the texture left me thinking I was eating a pancake that had some ingredient that had gone slightly off. Thankfully, the bread lost its astringent tang once you dipped it into one of the toppings. All the toppings were delicious, though I particularly loved the meats. Both the beef and chicken were tender and very flavorful. I made little handmade burritos out of the bread by laying a small piece atop whatever I wanted to pick up, and pinching the bread up to hold the dip. It was quite fun!
So I wasn't completely won over as Marge was, but I am very glad I had the opportunity to try Ethiopian cuisine and will look forward to trying different variations when the time comes.