1582 York Ave, New York, NY 10028, 212-717-7311 www.theethiopianrestaurant.com
Neither Brian nor I had ever eaten Ethiopian food before. The opportunity hadn't presented itself and we didn't seek it out. But there does happen to be a little Ethiopian restaurant, appropriately named 'The Ethiopian Restaurant' about 5 blocks from our apartment. We'd passed it dozens of times, usually on our way back from taking our pup to the river promenade, and when we were almost certainly headed to our favorite outdoor cafe to eat.
But on this particular Sunday, we noticed a giant blue letter A in their window. The health department had recently mandated that food establishments display their letter grades and we were struck by the A. I will say that, since then, we've seen a suspicious amount of A's all over the city and there's some debate about their authenticity. But we were innocent of these thoughts as we admired the Ethiopian A. We both agreed that any restaurant that worked hard enough to get that grade deserved a try. We looked at the menu in the window, determined that the exotic dishes contained ingredients we either liked or were willing to try and settled that we would eat here. We dropped the pup off at the apartment and came back for a late lunch.
The service, though, left a lot to be desired. The food was very slow to arrive, particularly since the place was nearly deserted and the cocktails didn't show up until after the entrees. When we were ready to leave, the woman (and the check) were nowhere to be found and we had to go into the kitchen to inquire after her. We were told she'd stepped out for a while!
We were feeling like pretty good sports that day since this was a bit of a culinary adventure. Normally we'd never remain to endure such bad service and we'll certainly not return to this place. But, we liked enough of the new flavors we tasted to say that we'll be on the lookout for a better Ethiopian place to dine.