There are now 5 Ethiopian restaurants on the 1900 block of 9th st., NW just below U St. Salome, Zula's, Axum, Sodere, and the place I stumbled into, Queen Makeda. It's been open only 4 weeks, but it looks like it hasn't opened up YET. I was the only one there for lunch. They are open every day, on weekends until ~3am and late the other days too, ~12am if there are customers. They will soon open for breakfast.
Judging by the quality of what I was served, I am wondering if there is some kind of great renaissance of Ethiopian cooking going on here. Queen Makeda looked like the worst place on the block, yet served the best Ethiopian meal I've had in a very long time.
When I walked in, I was greeted by a man who looked barely this side of homeless. He said they had just opened up and there was no menu yet. I told him it didn't matter, that I simply wanted a little variety, perhaps some doro wat and a few vegetables. The woman doing the cooking eventually came out and produced a menu(!) This couple was very charming and provided some good conversation and pronunciation tips while I waited for the food.
She brought out an enormous platter of food that had doro wat (medium spicy), yebeg alicha (lamb curry - this was very delicious), braised carrots and green beans, collared greens, and a tomato salad. It was a feast, enough for two. I had almost forgotten how delicious, fun, and pleasant Ethiopian cooking can be. They charged me $8.78 for the platter, which was ordered off-menu.
It beats the heck out of Dukem and the recently-departed but dreary Demera. I have no reason to believe the food here is any better than the other places on the block, but if anyone has visited these places, please report back!
Queen Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
1991 9th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001