Ethiopian Diamond

August 24 2005 - 6:14 PM

The first, and last, time I tried Ethiopian food was in college at Madison, WI. I remember it being very unpleasant; the sticky bread that tasted strongly of vinegar, the mushy stews with mystery meat and cooked vegetables and grubby hands all reaching into the same plate. Looking back I probably shouldn’t have let one restuarant experience in Madison define Ethiopian food.

Now, living in Edgewater, I drive past Ethiopian resturants every day.  One in particular, Ethiopian Diamon, looks pretty packed most nights, which to me is a very good sign. So, after  four years I finally put my fears aside and decided to take the plunge one Friday night. Again, there were a healty amount of people in the place, which is actually much larger inside than I would have guessed, more like a banquet hall. They had live music that night, one guy that played about 6 different instruments. He switched to a new one every song.

First we ordered African beer.  I ordered a Kenyan and it came in a
frosted mug which I greatly appreciated (I hate going to restuarants
where they poor your beer into a warm and sometimes wet glass that has
just come out of the dishwasher). Next came appetizers of potato and
beef Sambusas, similar to Indian Samosas. At first I found both to be
rather bland but the sauce that came with them had a nice kick to it
that complimented well. Then came the Injera/bread and the main dishes,
one of cubbed beef stew and the others all vegetarian, one of spicy red
lentals, one of peas and one of potatos, carrots and green beans.  I
didn’t really enjoy them individually, I couldn’t make a meal out of
just one, but the flavors and textures were appealing when they were
all eaten together.  The beef was rather spicy were the peas were
rather bland but together they worked well.

There were some things reminescient of my Madison experience, the
strong vinegar flavor of the sticky bread that leaves a tacky residue
on your hands for one.  But being prepared I choose to try to enjoy
this rather than be annoyed by it and found the bread to be rather
tasty. 

We ordered a roasted date dish as dessert to complete the meal but
was presented with something else, apparently they had run out of the
roasted dates. The dessert was a cookie filled with a sticky date paste
and topped with whipped cream, strawberry and chocolate sauce.  I found
it similar to the appetizer we started with, rather bland until you put
the sauce on it.

All in all the experience was much better than the one I had in
Madison.  think I’m still a litte skeptical and unsure about Ethiopan
food a as a whole but when I do decide to try it again I will go back
to Ethiopian Diamond.

Ethiopian Diamon
6120 N. Broadway
Chicago 60660

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