I've been dying to go for Ethiopian food ever since we went to the Blue Nile in Montreal and I finally convinced Darcy to go tonight for dinner. Coincidentally, it was Ethiopian Millennium Day today. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar, so today was the equivalent of New Year's Day in the year 2000. Kind of a nice coincidence. Some restaurants on the strip were closed because they were participating in the celebrations at Christie Pits Park.
Thankfully the one recommended to me by a friend, Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, was open. We sat in a sunny booth by the window and ordered the Lalibela Special, which was a combination platter for two containing doro wat (chicken), collard greens, cabbage, lentils, lamb, kifto (minced raw beef), boiled egg, and salad (lettuce, tomato, onion).
If you haven't had Ethiopian before, it is served on a large platter lined with injera, a slightly sour, spongy flatbread. All of the dishes are spooned on top and you eat everything with your hands using more injera (kind of like eating Indian food with naan or puris).
Everything was fantastic. It was a great balance of mild and spicy, cooked and raw, and veggies and meat. The kifto, which is sort of like steak tartare was sour with a slight lemon tang. I didn't tell Darcy that it was raw because I didn't want to deter him and he really liked it. The lamb was the spiciest dish followed closely by the split peas with the cabbage and lentils rounding out the mild side. The collard greens were slightly bitter, which contrasted well with everything else and the salad and boiled egg were cool and refreshing.
The service was attentive, but unobtrusive. Our waitress was very sweet (and incredibly beautiful). Another woman came around at just the right time and asked us if we wanted more injera. We were stuffed by that time, but it was nice to be asked.
It's really is such a delicious, nutritious, and generous meal. And the bill came to $19.99, including taxes. I am in love with this restaurant and food. I can't wait to go again.