Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine

Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine
1201 28th St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

When mom visited me in DC for the first time this past October, I spent a lot of time preparing for her visit by thinking about where to go for meals. Some decisions were easier than others: I booked Volt at least a month in advance, with Rasika not far behind. Lunches, on the other hand, were unplanned. I knew that I wanted to let mom experience cuisines that she couldn’t get back in Little Rock, Arkansas, so I was happy when she jumped at the idea to try Ethiopian food.

I have been to three Ethiopian restaurants in DC (Meskarem, Etete, and Zed’s), and Zed’s has always been my favorite. It’s not necessarily just the cuisine, but the setting and the service as well. Etete’s service is agonizingly slow and tends to forget our appetizers. Meskarem is agonizingly crowded at times, although cheap, and located in an area where it can be extremely difficult to find a parking spot. Zed’s, on the other hand, is located in an old townhouse, with white table cloths, padded chairs, and nice table settings that all lend to an atmosphere of elegance.

Everything is set up with the expectation of a fine meal. Until you get the meal, and you must eat with my hands.

Personally, I think Ethiopian food is a lot of fun, especially with a large group of people. When you’re forced to share dishes with your fellow diners in a very personal way by feeding yourself with your fingers alone, you can’t help but notice a breakdown in personal walls. It’s almost if the food brings you closer together. Besides, who doesn’t like feeling like a child and eating with their hands? There’s something of the naughty-is-good thing that adds a litle thrill.

We chose the following dishes for our lunch:

Chicken Doro Watt: tender chicken, red pepper sauce, spices served with hard boiled egg
Cubed Beef Special Tibbs: extra lean cubes of beef marinated in chef’s special sauce
Mild Cheese Ayeeb: dried curds of Ehtiopian-style cottage cheese, spices
Red Lentil Miser Watt: red lentils spiced with berbere (red pepper) sauce

All of the dishes were excellent, with rich, deep spices that merged well with each other. For instance, a bite of lentils went well with a small dab of cooling cheese, followed by a spicy beef cube. The only dish that I wouldn’t recommend is the chicken doro watt, if only for the fact that it’s hard to eat; tearing chicken off the bone with your fingers is not the most effective way to eat chicken, nor the most enjoyable. There is another chicken dish on the menu that is made of strips of chicken, and I will probably try that instead next time. Also, little insider tip: the bread on which the dishes rest is some of the best once the dishes are actually gone. Try tearing off some lentil or beef-juice soaked bread to finish off your meal.

Mom said she really enjoyed the meal, which made me very happy, and thought that it was a lot of fun. Happy, stuffed, and our breaths smelling like a spicey nuclear meltdown, we decided to take a walk around Georgetown.

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1 Response to “Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine”


  1. 1 kseverny December 1, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    looks like pretty tasty food


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