10 October 2011

Desta Ethiopian

Guest blogger, Rachel B, provides Dallas readers with an authentic African dinner option. I guess this obsession with  Ethiopian food runs in the family. I'm loving how Dallas has managed to turn Ethiopian cuisine into something minimalist, modern, and of course, a bit hoity toity (see picture below). Read on for Rachel's take on Dallas' version of African fare. 

I’ve recently been jonesing for some legitimate African cuisine so I scoured the local restaurant guides for a few options. This proved to be a task in itself as Dallas is a mecca for Ethiopian food, filling its own section in the restaurant guides, but a search for African food south of Ethiopia proved fruitless. I finally settled on a highly rated Ethiopian place, Habesha, located in the heart of Dallas’ African community.

The evening began with a scenic view of the Good Time Liquor store, two failed attempts to find ANY open Ethiopian restaurant, and three girls driving down Greenville with low blood sugar. Apparently we did not anticipate the local joints operating on African time with dinner hours starting “between six and seven-ish,” according to a Habesha staff member. Eventually we located Desta, a restaurant that, thankfully, operates on standard meal times, and managed to order some food.  

The atmosphere in Desta was spacious and modern; as we were on the early end of the dinner crowd there was plenty of seating and enough Ethiopians sitting down to a meal to ensure its authenticity. The waitress was friendly, knowledgeable, and patient with my friend who was new to Ethiopian dishes. We ordered vegetarian sambusas as an appetizer, which my friend declared as good as a taco surprise despite the inherent lack of beef. I ordered the Fish Kitfo Special with collared greens (which was a closer approximation of spinach than collared greens), fresh tuna, mitmita (hot chili powder), shiro (ground chickpeas), and injera. While my friends ordered some meaty entrees we got busy unwrapping the injera and shoving our food into our gaping maws. The meal was more than ample and despite the numerous mishaps in our search for an African meal we left with full stomachs, take-away boxes, and a promise to return. 

If you are in the mood for Ethiopian food I recommend Desta for an average priced (anticipate $20 a person without tip) Ethiopian meal rolled into an American dining experience. Eventually, when I’m up for a late-night dinner and an Ethiopian dining experience I’ll give Habesha a second chance.

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