1150 S Mickley Ave, Indianapolis, IN | Directions 4624139.750465 -86.260087
My favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Indianapolis – A gem! ("Major" is the family name of the owners.)
I had the Doro Wat, the chicken leg and hard-boiled egg in a spicey smokey-flavored stew. It came served sizzling in a clay pot with a woven fiber lid, on top of a goblet-like holder. The chicken leg was very delicious, and the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. The stew was spicey/smokey in a way that I wasn't used to (I mostly go to Asian or Mexican restaurants), but the flavor really grew on me. The stew was spicey-hot but not as burning as a high level spiciness at a Thai restaurant. The flavors really stood out, not the hot-ness.
There's a certain earthy-tasting Mexican chile pepper that the stew reminded me of, but I can't remember the name.
The "sides" are served on a huge plastic platter lined with a large "pancake" of enjera ( or "injera") bread. I got 5 sides, but that was more than what was listed on the menu for this dish. I was also served a basket covered with a cloth napkin, containing 3 rolls of enjera bread. One of the sides was a good, almost American-style, lettuce/tomato/onion salad. The other 4 sides were standard Ethiopian vegetables, also with flavorings very unique to Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine.
If memory serves, the sides were not as spicey-hot as those served at Abysinnia restaurant. Again, more flavorful-spicey, not spicey-hot.
The first time I went to an Ethiopian restaurant, I tended to use too large pieces of enjera to scoop up the stewy/pasty foods. The key is to use a small piece of enjera for the most food you can scoop, so as not to fill up on the enjera bread. 3/4" by 1-1/2" or 1"x2" pieces of enjera bread work for me. That way, you can use up the three enjera rolls, and finish eating the platter-liner at the same time as the last morsel of food.
The fact that I ate the entire enjera lining the platter seemed to please the waitress/owner.
The soft-drink apparently didn't come with refills, but the ice-water was free.
Service was cheerful and friendly, but not quite as attentive as what most Westerners are used to. She could have come by the table a couple more times. I went to the cash register to request the check. I don't know if that's standard operating procedure here (as it is in many authentic Mexican restaurants).
Ambience up front is okay. There are some Ethiopian decorations and pictures of Ethiopian children. There were two flat-screen TVs, with the sound off. Background music seemed Ethiopian. The floor and walls are nice, but the ceiling tiles reflect the el-cheapo strip mall.
There are 15 western-style tables-for-4 in the front area; and there's another section with the traditional Ehtiopian platter holders with more comfortable chairs, seating about 12.
The tables-for-4 have cloth tablecloths under a glass table-top, nice looking plastic flowers as a centerpiece, a paper napkin dispenser, salt shaker, toothpick jar, and what looks like a lime-juice squeeze-container.
The men's room reflected the age of the bulding, and needed remodeling, but was recently painted, and was very clean.
I'll have to go back to Abysinnia restaurant to compare, but if memory serves, I like the food here better.
It's VERY easy to get to, literally just a stone's throw from the West Washington Street exit of I-465. Morris Street dead-end's here. Therefore, no drive by's except for the people who live in the apartment complex behind this strip mall. You just don't see this from Washington Street or the main part of Morris. Unless they get tons of word-of-mouth, I'm afriad they'll fold just like previous restaurants at this location.
Bottom line: Worthy of patronage. Worth going out of your way for. Ambience won't impress, but the food and sweetness of the staff is definitely good enough for the boss/wife/gf/inlaws/etc.
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