Sun-Thu, 11:30am-11:30pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-midnight
A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority Bus Terminal
37th St. to 55th St., Seventh Ave. to 12th Ave.
At about a dozen tables in a bright, mustard-colored room decorated with African art, curious Americans and expat Ethiopians hunch, sometimes in groups, over platters of spongy injera, Ethiopia's native bread. It's made with the prolific, sturdy grain, tef, which is ground, fermented, and cooked; bubbles splattering up through the batter pock-mark the bread and give it texture. In little piles on the bread are intricately spiced and braised meat and vegetable dishes. The way to get at the food is to tear off swatches of injera and use them to scoop up the food. By the end of the meal, your hands will have accrued the color and the tang of berbere—red pepper, fenugreek, cardamom, and other spices. It's what turns so many dishes their characteristic scarlet—and what gives them heat. Dishes here are done in the style of the region: slow cooked and marinated, with plenty of meats and chicken (generally in onion-based stews), and with lots of pulses, like split beans, lentils, and chickpeas.Extra
Queen of Sheba's around the corner from Meskerem, another good Ethiopian restaurant.Recommended Dishes
Timatim fitfit, $7; Taste of Sheba, $22.95