Coming back to DC for a visit after a year or so, I was really looking forward to trying one of the Ethiopian restaurants that have recently opened around U Street. So, after searching the board and reading everyone's input, I decided to take my group to Dukem. Pretty good stuff!
We ordered a veggie combo of miser wot, kik alicha, gomen, and salad; and meat dishes of regular kitfo, doro wot and goden tibs, which was served with fluffy, not-too-thick injera.
I thought it was interesting that on the menu, they give you a choice of spicy or mild on some items. Doro wot had the additional choice of the standard chicken leg, or shredded chicken. We requested the spicy shredded chicken, which had lots of yummy heat with a hint of cardamom. The shredded chicken was easier to eat with a group, however, with a chicken leg, you have more of an option of soaking up the berbere sauce by itself with your injera--which I missed.
The kitfo (steak tartare) serving was HUGE! Some of those in our group preferred that the kitfo be sauteed slightly, but our server said that was not an option (fine with me). It was very fresh, had good texture, and nice intermingling spices--the heat didn't overwhelm the other flavors.
The kik alicha (yellow split peas) also had a bit of heat, which I was not expecting. At other places, this dish is more mild in contrast to the spicier wot dishes, and thicker. The gomen (greens) also had a thinner consistency, and was not as flavorful. The lentils, though, were very good.
I didn't have any of the godin tibs (beef short ribs), but my fiance, who is a big fan of godin tibs, thought the Dukem version was too well-done. They were served with a side of mitmita powder, which everyone was afraid to try (heh heh). *I* had the dubious fortune of grabbing a pinch of salad with what I thought was green pepper, but was really raw jalapeno! Ow.
Overall it was a delicious experience, but next time I certainly want to try some of the other "new" spots, like Queen Makeda and Sodere. I noticed that at the corner of 9th and U, there is a large restaurant with an inviting roof deck set to open soon. I look forward to hearing others' comments when it does.