Archive for June, 2012

Addisu Ethiopian Restaurant

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Addisu Ethiopian Restaurant & Grocery
1027 Dillerville Rd
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 291-1542

Good Food : 4.5/5 | Good Service : 3.5/5

A craving for ethnic comfort food led me to Addisu Ethiopian Restaurant & Grocery. With a cuisine that doesn’t use any cutlery, traditional Ethiopian cuisine epitomizes the comfort of sharing a common meal with others. I was lucky to be introduced to Ethiopian cuisine and many other ethnic cuisines while a student at UC Berkeley. Ethiopian cuisine is not a popular ethnic cuisine, so I was surprised to find an Ethiopian restaurant in Lancaster, PA – a city that is known more for the old-world Amish ‘Good and Plenty’ family-style restaurants.

You can easily spot the business storefront from the road – the green, yellow and red colors from the Ethiopian flag are featured on their sign, and there is parking front of the entrance. The interior is simple yet homey – warm yellow walls surround the simple tables setup and a wall/shelf behind the cash register displays various food ingredients, coffee pots and injera pans that you can purchase. This is not a fine-dining establishment, but a simple family-run food business.

The menu features beef, lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes. All dishes are served with traditional teff injera, that slightly sour spongy Ethiopian version of a crepe/pancake/tortilla/flatbread that is used in place of utensils to scoop up and carry the food from the dish into your waiting mouth.

I was in the mood for lamb, but decided to go with the #7 combination beef platter since this also comes with several vegetable options. The #7 comes with small servings of the following, which allowed me to sample a range of dishes :

  • Yessiga Wët – Beef strips in specially seasoned berbere sauce
  • Yëmisir Wët – Split lentils with garlic, onions, canola oil and finished with berbere sauce
  • Yëdifin misir Wët – Whole lentils with garlic, onions, canola oil and sliced green peppers
  • Fasolya – String beans, carrots, and onions sautéed in a blend of exotic spices
  • Cabbage & potatoes – A special blend of cutup & cooked cabbage, fried potato slices, onions and mild spices
  • Special Shero – Yellow split peas with little berbere

2 rolled injera also come with each dish. If you dine inside, the food is served on a traditional large metal platter. I decided to do takeout, so my food was tucked into the typical large square styrofoam box. The injera was only mildly sour, perhaps a concession to the local palate, but you could taste the fermented milk used to make it if eaten alone.

All of the vegetarian dishes were flavored and cooked wonderfully. Ethiopian cuisine is not for the faint of heart or those who can’t deal with more than a salt/pepper seasoning – ground red pepper is a common seasoning spice base, but the level of spiciness can be tweaked to the diner’s comfort level. The seasonings used in the Wët (stew) dishes reflected many layers of flavor and spice.

My 2 disappointments were the beef and the cabbage. The pieces of beef were slightly tough, meaning that the meat had not cooked as long as it could have and had a slightly chewy texture. And the cabbage had a very bitter taste which colored the entire serving.

But this definitely satisfied my ethnic comfort food craving and not having had Ethiopian in a very long time.