Spicy food is a great way to separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the girls from the boys if they get too rowdy at coed canoe camp. Teach taste buds respect with today’s Groupon to Blue Nile Cafe. Choose between the following options at either the Kansas City or Overland locations:
- For $26, you get an Ethiopian dinner experience for two (up to a $52.90 value), which includes:
- Veggie or beef sambusas (a $4.95 value)
- Sampler combination platter for two (a $33.95 value)
- Two beverages (up to a $7 value/person)<p>
- For $45, you get an Ethiopian dinner experience for four (up to a $97.85 value), which includes:
- Two orders of veggie or beef sambusas (a $9.90 value)
- Sampler combination platter for four (a $59.95 value)
- Four beverages (up to a $7 value/person)<p>
Ethiopian natives, owners of Blue Nile Cafe, Daniel and Selam Fikru siphon their culture and traditional recipes into a spice-laced menu. In accordance with Ethiopian tradition, diners eschew silverware and pick up savory morsels, such as vegetable or beef sambusas, using their hands or telekinetic mind powers. Sampler combination platters, lined with spongy injera bread that can be used to scoop sizzling comestibles, cradle eight vegetarian and three meat dishes. Dive tongue-first into a roulette of misir watt (organic red-lentil-and-onion stew), atiklett (cabbage and potatoes blended in tumeric), and shimbera assa (garbanzo-bean dough simmered in a berbere, tomato, and garlic stew). Diners, like indecisive sonnet writers, can split their affections between sautéed beef tibbs watt, simmered lamb yebeg watt, and marinated chicken doro watt, which the Pitch describes as a “perfectly spiced creation.”
Bolster feasts with spiced tea, Ethiopian coffee, or house-made gingebel, a juice crafted from ginger and fruits. Or, diners may sip, swish, or chug a white or red house wine. According to Daniel Fikru in an interview with the Pitch, all of the Blue Nile’s vegetarian options are also vegan because “in [Ethiopian] culture, a vegetarian won’t touch any animal product … not even dairy.” Diners sit swaddled in booths shaped like bamboo huts within the indoor eating area or master the art of yodeling with a full mouth on the outdoor patio.
Blue Nile Cafe
Daniel and Selam Fikru, now husband and wife, met when they were high-school students in their native Ethiopia. They've lived in Kansas City since 1995, and together, they've helped a large following of locals try their first tastes of Ethiopian food and subsequently fall in love with its rich, distinctive spices.
The couple's traditional recipes have earned their restaurant, Blue Nile Cafe, a recommendation from KCUR FM’s Food Critics, a place on LocalEats’ Top 100 Restaurants in Kansas City list, and attention from Pitch. But their success over the past two decades hasn’t come without hard work. According to a profile by the Kansas City Star, Selam is in the kitchen by early morning six days a week, simmering meats and lentils in a medley of ginger, garlic, and rosemary. Selam’s labors yield a bounty of entrees—served atop communal platters—featuring marinated chicken and cubes of beef or lamb, as well as vegetarian feasts of lentils, potatoes, and greens. Diners scoop up dishes with pieces of injera, which is a spongy sourdough pancake.
In the dining room, cream-colored walls bear colorful paintings that remind diners of their meals' distant origins. For an additional taste of Ethiopian culture, guests can partake in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony wherein staffers roast, grind, and brew fresh coffee to order. Guests can otherwise opt for refreshing glasses of wine out on the patio.
In addition to welcoming guests into the dining room, Blue Nile Cafe invites them into the kitchen during classes that guide students in preparing injera and other traditional dishes. The restaurant also equips pupils with spices and grains for simmering over their own trashcan fires.