October 21, 2007


We went to Asmara last night. Not the Eritrean city, but the namesake restaurant on Mass Ave. in Cambridge.

So how does Ethiopian slash Eritrean food compare in a plethora of other ethnic choices?

Pretty, pretty good.

They are next door to Picante's which is my favorite in and out Mexican place. And every time I go in Picante's I always notice the big upturned sombrero tables in Asmara.

We walked in and were immediately moved to our table. It was a little close to the door, so we kept our coats on, plus the AC was blowing up a storm. Towards the end of the evening our waitress apologized for the cold, she explained that the kitchen was red hot, so they keep the air-con on full tilt.

Anne and I agreed on the Sega Bebayneto, a sampler dish of chicken, beef, lamb and vegetables.

We also asked for Asmara beer. Two bottles came and as Anne poured, I did the same. Mine didn't come out. It was frozen. Still a replacement came and all was good.

Within 10 minutes we were each given a hand wipe, and this was a sign that our food was imminent. You eat with your hands in this place.

Sure enough, a huge platter of food followed, along with injera, an Ethiopian bread that looked like chamois leather but tasted delicious.

The food was great. That's all I have to say. You grab some bread, and pick up the food, like a self-serve stew.

Who else was dining? A classic Cambridge intellectual - complete with the 4 essentials, a bow-tie, tweed jacket, high waisted pants and a dowdy unimpressed wife. His table was rounded off with 2 younger women who did not seem happy.

Mostly, the place was full of people who seemed to enjoy the food and/or the concept.

One unrelated bizarre incident. At the exact moment a couple entered the restauarant, the Red Sox had scored and the people in the bar across the road let out a huge cheer. To those of us inside the restaurant it sounded like Mass Ave had a "Canned Cheer" track running, activated by the door of the restaurant. I guess you had to be there ...

So it all seemed very authentic, except for the huge espresso machine. I know Ethiopia is a large coffee supplier, but somehow I cannot imagine an industrial sized "La Spaziale" in Addis Ababa. Then again what the hell do I know?

We'll go back.

No comments: