Addis Abeba [closed]
1322 Chicago Ave
A few weeks ago, I headed out on a rainy night for a group dinner at Ethiopian Diamond. I think perhaps Ethiopian food is tailor-made for group dinners, since it is designed to share! The restaurant itself was unfortunately barren except for our big table, owning to the freezing-rain downpour. As our group was evenly split between vegetarians and omnivores, we decided to order a range of meat and non-meat dishes to share. Like most Ethiopian restaurants, the food is served communally on a large, round mesob platter on a large piece of thin injera bread.
On the vegetarian plate we selected a variety of chickpea-based dishes. We ordered Yeater Kik Wot ($10.25) – yellow split peas sauteed with garlic, cloves and cinnamon; Mitin Shiro ($10.25) Roasted, chick peas in cinnamon-clove spiced butter with cinnamon and cloves; and Azifa ($8.50) a cold dish of lentils, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. In truth, being seated in front of the veg platter, and being an omnivore myself, all of the chickpea fare started to blend together. It was good, but not distinctive. Maybe not so many beans next time.
On the meat-eater platter we ordered Chicken Shish Kebabs ($14.75) with a spicy yogurt sauce; Yebeg alitcha ($14.75) a spicy lamb dish with onions, garlic and turmeric; Minchet abish ($14.00) ground beef served with a berbere sauce, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and garlic. The chicken kebabs were nice and spicy, however the pieces were much too big to grab daintily with the injera. Had to use the hands here. The Yebeg Alitcha was deliciously garlic and tender. However, the combination of sweet and savory (ground beef and cinnamon) was bit too much for me, where the minchet abish was concerned.
To finish of the meal we shared a pot of flavorful Ethiopian coffee ($2.50) served in a traditional style. This coffee is potent, and accordingly served in tiny cups, but, with impending research papers in mind, we kept the refills coming. Though Ethiopian Diamond is definitely still our Chicago favorite, AA is pretty good for an Ethio fix in Evanston, especially if you bring a few friends along.