Since moving to Philly from DC, I can safely say that I miss only two things--my friends and the plethora of Ethiopian restaurants. I was especially lucky to work with friends in an office above an Ethiopian restaurant.
So, when my fiance asked me what I would like for my birthday, it was a no-brainer. That left us with the choice of either taking the train down to DC, or doing some research on the local Ethiopian food scene.
I found that there is not much of a "scene" here. As far as I can figure, there are only 3-4 Ethiopian restaurants here, and they are all clear across town. Ah, to be a student at U. Penn!
From what I could gather from the net, Abyssinia seemed to get the best reviews. I hesitated at first to go based on others' opinions, mainly because the much-favored Meskerem in DC is not exactly my first choice. But off we went, and we were not disappointed!
We ordered the meat combo and the special combo #1, which gave us pretty much everything we could want--beef, lamb, chicken, lentils, split peas and greens. I was a little sad at first that they did not have flax seed (telba wat) but I got over it.
The stars were the doro wat (chicken) and the kitfo (beef tartare). The chicken was perfectly cooked to the point of just falling off the bone. Abyssinia's doro wat was missing the hard-boiled egg, but that did not bother me so much. The server asked us if we wanted the kitfo cooked or raw; we asked for slightly cooked, but thankfully it came out raw instead. So delicious! The layers of spice flavors and the slow burn made me want to faint.
I wanted to order another combo to take home and freeze, but my fiance assured me, "We'll be back." I was able to make the leftovers last for two days, but that was a week ago, and now I am regretting not loading up. Looks like I'll be taking regular trips down the Market St. subway from now on!
Maybe Stephen Starr will open a chi-chi Ethiopian-themed place over in my neck of the woods. ;)