Great Food, Fun Dining Experience
Posted on 02 / 02 / 2013
Mesob is the best Ethiopian restaurant we've found in this area. While service can be slow, the food is great and we always enjoy our meal.
We normally get the Vegetarian Sampler for Two. They place in front of you a large platter covered with injera (a spongy, crepe-like flat bread with a pleasantly sour flavor). They then bring out six different dishes, which you get to choose from their large array of vegetable entrees (each of them vegan). Each dish is spooned out onto the injera, and additional bread is provided for the scooping. (They will bring extra injera when they notice you've finished your supply.)
One of my favorite dishes is Shiro (pureed split peas and chick peas cooked with onions, garlic and spices). It has a thick, creamy texture, rich savory flavor, and just enough heat. The runner up is Misir Wat (lentils cooked in a spicy berbere sauce). The berbere imparts a lovely deep red color, complex flavor, and perfect amount of heat; this is probably the spiciest dish of the bunch. The Kik Aletcha (yellow split peas simmered with onions and spices) is mildly spicy with a slightly tangy flavor; it has a chunkier texture than the other legume dishes. The Ingudai Tibs (sliced portobello mushrooms cooked with onion, garlic, tomatoes & spices) is very flavorful, with a meaty texture that adds variety to an array of mostly soft-cooked dishes. Gomen (collard greens cooked until tender with onions and spices) and Atkilt Aletcha (green beans and thin strips of carrots simmered in a mellow sauce until meltingly soft) are simply spiced but very flavorful, and round out the meal nicely.
Of course, the best part of the meal is the food-soaked injera, which we tear apart at the end! Yum...
We always follow our meal with an authentically prepared Ethiopian coffee. House-roasted coffee beans are ground and brewed to produce a thick, richly flavored espresso-style coffee. It's served in small demitasse cups with milk that I think is warmed with spices - I definitely detect a hint of cardamom. Delicious! Just watch out for sediment on the bottom of the cup.
We don't bother with dessert. Flourless Chocolate Espresso Torte and Creme Brulee seem mundane and out of place after such an exotic meal. They do offer gourmet vegan chocolates which are at least infused with traditional flavors (berbere spiced ganache!), but I haven't tried these yet. Honestly, it would be nice to see a few more imaginative dessert offerings.
Overall, a truly fun dining experience!
Warm, hip-yet-relaxed atmosphere, Wide variety of vegan dishes, Extremely flavorful and satisfying food
Service can be slow, especially if busy, Does get quite busy on a Saturday night!