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San Francisco Bay Area Oakland Ethiopian Chowdown

Ethiopian Chowdown at Enssaro, Oakland


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Ethiopian Chowdown at Enssaro, Oakland

Ruth Lafler | Apr 6, 2010 10:10 PM

Twelve of us had a delicious dinner at Enssaro Tuesday night. I was intrigued by comments that Enssaro was better than Cafe Colucci, so I decided to resurrect the defunct Ethiopian chowdown series and check it out. We ordered:

From the appetizers:
Ye Timatim Fit-Fit -- salad of torn-up injera an diced tomatoes, chiles and spices

From the meats:

Special Kitfo
Lightly cooked or rare minced lean beef. Spiced with ethiopian cheese, mitmit, and Ethiopian style clarified butter.

Ye Bere Tibs
Tenderized, lean, cubed beef, cooked in a flavorful Berbere sauce.

Ye Beg Wot
Lean, cubed lamb slowly simmered with berbere (Ethiopian spicy red pepper) and combination of seasonings.

Gomen Besiga
Lean, cubed beef slow-cooked and blended with kale, peppers, ginger, garlic and onions. Also can be made with Lamb and Chicken (we had it with chicken)

Bozena Shirow
Finely grounded splot peas, and chickpeas simmered in minced beef with Ethiopian organic clarified butter and a combination of seasonings.

Made using a unique blend peaces of Enjera and hot aromatic spices, cubed lean beef, fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic to give it a distinctive and potent flavor (at the waitress' recommendation, we had it with lamb).

From the vegetable section:

Yetsome Beyaynetu -- Vegetarian combination which includes:
Messer Wot (spicy lentil dish is cooked slowly with organic, hand crushed Ethiopian spices) Kik-Alicha (low simmered dish of whole yellow pigeon peas with garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric powder)
Ata- kilt (medley of slow-cooked vegetables, including fresh cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, sautéed with fresh, onions, ginger, garlic and turmeric)
Gommen (fresh collard greens sautéed with onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato).

Acham yelesh Shiro
This is a tasty, yet light dish made using imported chickpea powder, sun dried spices, and freshly sautéed garlic and onions. It is a spicy and savory dish with a very thin, smooth texture.

As it typical, everything came with baskets of injera, and we also ordered a bottle of honey wine ($15).

Service was warm but we had a little difficulty explaining that even though everything was served family style (various foods grouped on injera-lined platters), we wanted two platters to minimize passing. By the time the last set of dishes came out, they'd gotten it straight, though.

Total with tax and a 18 percent tip, but minus a $25 certificate came to $153. We rounded up the tip so the final bill was $14/person.

366 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA

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