Friday, April 5, 2013

Arada, Ethiopian Food

I've visited a lot of places in my life, more than some people dream of. I have been to over 25 different countries and countless cities. Living in Germany had its advantages, if you wanted to do a day trip you could take one to another country. When I say that something is a bit of an adventure I sort of know what I'm talking about, and this time it was.

Ethiopian is quite unlike anything else I tried, sure there might be things that are recognizable such as the tomatoes from the tomato salad or the chicken pieces from the Doro Alitcha. The flavors are completely unique though, along with the serving style. I quite enjoyed the way the meal is supposed to be eaten, with your hands and pieces of the imjera, the spongey bread like serving dish. I am a savage at home and try to use as few utensils and dishes as possible, at a restaurant I am mostly polite and civilized. Betty might disagree here, she likes to scold and reprimand me sometimes when I'm not behaving they way she thought she raised me. I'm just doing my part to conserve water by not using utensils, or a better excuse that I might make up later to justify eating with my fingers because it is fun. Back to the point that this restaurant was enjoyable for me just for that reason. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves for the majority of the time spent there, Maude had said that it was unusual for it to be so empty.

Our server was attentive without being overbearing, she made sure our glasses stayed full of water and was sure not to disturb us while we were consuming. This really surprised me because I would have thought with as empty as it was I would have though she would be bugging us a lot due to boredom.

I'm sure I have said it before but I'm saying it again, I do not enjoy foods that have a lot of spice. Things I eat should not make my mouth feel like I swallowed a burning coal, there should be discernible tastes, most of the items we ate were not that spicy, the ones that were were very spicy. The yemiser wot was especially hot.

Yatakilt alitcha was my favorite, with the steamed potatoes and carrots that had a slight sweetness to them, maybe I was imagining that, it was a break from the spice of the yemiser wot and the siga wot. The injera was a very interesting piece to the dish. It was almost like a tortilla in the uses for it, by itself it had a very vinegar taste but was easily masked. The texture was the weirdest thing and hardest to describe other than a sponge, I know that doesn't sound very appealing but it is better than it sounds.

The Yater Alitcha was a yellow pea dish that did not have a lot of flavor to it. It looked much like a corn mash.

Yemiser wot was a lentil dish with a berbere or a red pepper sauce, I only got spice and heat off of this, making it my least favorite.

Gomen is a steamed greens dish, it was my second least favorite. It had almost no taste to it and what taste it did was not very pleasing.

The siga wot and doro alitcha were the only two dishes with meat in them. The siga wot was tender beef in a berbere sauce, this was a little spicy but was nothing compared to the yemiser wot. The doro alitcha  was chicken that was bland, but the sauce had a garlic taste to it, that redeemed the chicken slightly.

Overall: I enjoyed the experience but I would not return, because I did not enjoy the food that much. It was not horrible food and I know people like Merv and Maude enjoy it, but I can do without.

Best part: Having the restaurant mostly to ourselves and our service.

Worst part: The price, it was pretty expensive.

Ethiopian | 750 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 303-329-3344 | $10-18 for single person entrees | Tue-Sat 11:30-10pm | all major credit cards

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