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Los Angeles Area Ethiopian

it wasn't just love at first taste - MESSOB ethiopian restaurant


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it wasn't just love at first taste - MESSOB ethiopian restaurant

the delicious life | Jun 24, 2005 08:48 PM

it's late on friday, so as people start to make meal plans for the weekend, i thought i'd share a recent experience at messob, because well, it was good, and if you feel like ethiopian, you could add it to your weekend taste calendar!

i had ethiopian for the first time at FASSICA, which is in culver city, and maybe others remember, but i raved about it here on the CH board - lol! but i wanted to make sure that it wasn't just love at first taste so i thought i'd try something up in little ethiopia to benchmark myself.

we had some recommendations for restaurants, right here from you guys! all of which claimed to be "the best" or "most authentic" ethiopian in l.a.: meals by genet, merkato, nyala, and rosalind’s. we ended up at messob.

we ordered some of the honey wine to start, which was super sweet, and in any other context, i would have thought a little OVERLY sweet, but here, it was great.

since i'm still new to ethiopian, we ordered a combination platter. it was enormous, with all the requisite ethiopian things in tiny piles creating a colorful patchwork quilt atop injera.

an entire basket of rolled and folded INJERA accompanied the platter. this is only the second time I’ve ever seen injera, the crepe-like bread from ethiopia. the grayish-brown color, spongy texture, hundreds of tiny airy holes, and the simulatenously subtle nutty and sour taste of it still very new and strange.

TOMATO FIT-FIT comes with all the dishes as a common side, as does a plain green HOUSE SALAD. both were part of the combination we ordered, and were the least interesting things on the platter. in fact, I don’t think I really liked the tomato fit-fit at all because it was cold. COLARD GREENS are like pizza for me. unless they’re rotten to begin with and cooked in gasoline, they’ll always taste good to me.

there was DORO WOT, chicken pieces with bones-in so the meat stays tender, SIGA WOT, made with strips of beef, and YEMISIR WOT, made with split lentils. all of the wots were rich and deep with flavor, and of the wots, i liked the yemisir the best.

ZELZEL TIBS, beef sauteed with onions and other spices, was good, but tasted a bit dry after having stewed meats. KITFO is also beef, but ground and sauteed with spices. this one I liked because it actually had the most heat out of everything.

ALITCHA is a word that appears a few times, and i'm going to guess that it refers to cooking with onions, garlic, ginger, and a different combination of spices from the “wot.” YEBEG SIGA ALITCHA is lamb, which I didn’t love, but I suspect it’s all psychological. if I didn’t read beforehand that it was lamb, I wouldn’t have known it as lamb, especially with all the spices, so it probably would have tasted better to me. YATER ALITCHA was another type of lentil, and YATAKILT ALITCHA were vegetables – carrots, potatoes, and I think cabbage, though i can’t say for sure. faintly sweet, likely from the natural sugars in carrots and cabbage.

the combo came with dessert - BAKLAVA. that seemed odd to me, but i am sure someone will enlighten me to the histroy behind this one (last time, i learned why spaghetti is also on the menu - LOL!)

everything was DELICIOUS and confirmed for me that i wasn't just blown away that first time. i really do like ethiopian food. luckily, FASSICA is right near me so i don't have to go all the way to fairfax :)


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