Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Little Ethiopia: Merkato Ethiopian

Two Fridays ago, after an evening trip to LACMA, nine classmates and I headed to Little Ethiopia (a stretch of S. Fairfax Ave) for dinner at Merkato Ethiopian.  Despite having a reservation, our supposed table was nowhere near ready, so we ended up sitting on amusing saddle seats around five little tables.  Dishes are meant to be shared, which we did in groups of three or four.

The main problem with blogging over a week after the original meal is that, in the case unfamiliar cuisines, I don't remember the names of what I ate.  I do remember that at Pradeep's more experienced recommendation, my dining group (Pradeep, David and myself) ordered the vegetable combo (four different vegetable purees and stews), a sizzling beef dish, and a garlic/chicken/tomatoes dish.  Everything is served on and with injera, which is a spongy and somewhat sour bread; you rip off small pieces and use them to pick up the various stews.  The dishes are very flavorful and on the salty side, which encourages even more consumption.  And while it doesn't look like a huge amount of food for three people, we definitely could not finish.

The group next to us also ordered the veggie combo and garlic chicken, but their other items were a raw beef dish and a whole fried fish (not shown).

So, my first experience with Ethiopian food was both delicious and reasonably priced - my share turned out to be $14.  Service is decidedly slow, which I'm told is typical for Ethiopian restaurants.  Note that Merkato also offers free valet parking.