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Restaurants & Bars

Kitfo (Ethiopian steak tartare) at Fasika, Somerville

Prav | Oct 3, 201303:24 AM     2

If you like steak tartare (or are adventurous with regard to eating raw meat), go to Fasika and order their kitfo. I've had it about a half-dozen times in the past 3 months and it's been fantastic every time.

Sit at the bar of this slightly strange combo-"Townie" bar/Ethiopian restaurant, order a frosty mugga beea, play some Keno, and wait for a huge platter lined with spongy injera bread (which actually has a fair amount of fermented tanginess, unlike some other places whose injera tastes like an Aunt Jemima mix pancake) with a giant mound of fiery red tartare in the middle. As you eat, chat with some of the regulars at the bar and who knows what kind of fun stories you'll get.

The texture of the kitfo is quite fine, which I prefer, as it leaves less sinewy fat and gristle. In fact, Fasika's generally has none discernible. The taste is so complex and rich, of cardamom and mit-mita (the spicy hot pepper powder mix), all held together with the meat by rich melted butter. This stuff is decadent!

Fasika's rendition also comes with a side of gomen, a preparation of greens that's slightly mushy (in an oddly pleasing, complementary way to the meat) but also has some tender bits, somewhat like well-done kale.

While I'm not sure what one does with leftover kitfo, as it is raw (and I suppose it's fine with simple refrigeration), I've found it delicious by taking a couple sharp chefs knives to it when I get home, and chopping it up and stir frying it. The meat cooks really quickly and easily since it's doused in spicy butter, and the injera soaks it up real nicely. It's almost the same concept of the Trinidadian "Bus up shut" (a roti 'shirt' all chopped up). A similar concept is kathu rotti, which is the Sri Lankan dish of chopped up paratha (bread) with veggies and meat, which I get frequently from the Biryani Park food truck at the Navy Yard.

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