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Reviewed June 1, 2015
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What You'll Get
Eating with your hands is a joy second only to playing a woodwind instrument with your feet. Dig in with all four hands with today's Groupon to Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant. For $10, you'll get $25 worth of spicy stews, injera, honey wine, and more. Centrally located in Adams Morgan, Meskerem offers a cultural dining experience amid the lush textures and rich earthtones of its authentic décor and invisible backrub ghosts.
For the uninitiated, Ethiopian cuisine is traditionally eaten utensil-free perched atop homemade injera, a large sourdough flatbread that acts as a tender, edible glove for your right hand to pick up and feed savory heaps of eats to your anticipatory taste buds, who, frankly, have earned it. This spongy, pancake-like bread is delicious on its own and provides the perfect sidekick to complement the famous, spicy main kick of Ethiopian dishes.
Meskerem's mouthwatering menu offers traditional spicy stews and tons of tasty vegetarian options. Start off with a flaky and golden-fried sambusa ($3.75 with minced and spiced beef or chicken, $3.50 vegetarian). Those looking for a spicy kick will enjoy the gomen watt (collard greens in hot and spicy berbere sauce, $8.75) or yebeg kay watt (lamb in berbere, $10.25). For a milder bite, try the alitcha watt (lean beef in a flavorful onion and herb sauce, $11). Go with a group and each get something different to share, or try the Meskerem messob, a sampler of the eatery's beef, chicken, lamb, and vegetarian dishes arranged on a large tray ($11.95 for one, $23 will serve two people). Meskerem also offers a savory vegetarian messob ($11 for one, $21 for two).
In the upstairs dining room, tables and stools are placed low to the ground, enabling parties to rub elbows around a communal plate in order to generate the static electricity needed to power a light bulb for the science fair tomorrow. In traditional Ethiopian etiquette, feeding your fellow diners is a gesture of friendship and loyalty. Though you are welcome not to eat from the hand of your friends, this tradition is a great way to reinforce old friendships or get closer to a new sweetheart.
- …Meskerem in Adams-Morgan was one of the first Ethiopian restaurants and remains among the best, especially for newcomers to the food. – Frommer’s
- You can never go wrong with the yedor watt (known elsewhere as doro watt), the richly seasoned chicken stew plus hard-cooked egg served traditionally on injera bread. We also favor the kik alitcha, a purée of yellow split peas, gently seasoned with herbs and spices and served with a mound of injera. Ask about house specialties. The décor is bright and cheery with a splashy sun motif. – Gayot
- Love Meskeram [sic] !: This is a great place! Please try the honey wine called "tej". They have window sitting so you can see the hustle and bustle of Adams Morgan. The food is ecclectic [sic] and the ambiance is superb. If you want something different and out of the norm try Meskeram [sic]! – heLLokitty, Yahoo! Local
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires Aug 19, 2010. Amount paid never expires. Limit 2 per person, 1 per table. Tax and gratuity not included. Dine-in only. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.
About Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant
Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant takes its name from the first month of the Ethiopian calendar, which typically signifies the end of the three-month rainy season and the beginning of more favorable weather. The chefs draw inspiration from this sense of joyous bounty while preparing the menu of spicy stews, sautéed meats, and puréed vegetables, which they serve atop family-style platters perfect for sharing. Instead of relying on the silverware or grease troughs typically found in many American restaurants, they line each communal platter of entrees with spongy injera, a sourdough bread made from teff or fermented whole wheat that allows diners to scoop individual bites off the serving trays. The injera's slight tang lends a distinctive flavor to the rest of the cuisine, which includes lamb in a mild blend of string beans, carrots, and potatoes as well as collard greens in a berbere sauce, a spicy concoction that draws heat from its eponymous Ethiopian pepper.
The owners also work to replicate and share Ethiopia’s high regard for community and relaxing meal times by inviting guests to cluster around their low-slung tables and recline on one of the dining room's 100-year-old chairs.