The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Nyala Ethiopian food

October 31, 2011 ,

I was lucky enough to see my brother while I was out in LA. He endured the traffic and I endured jetlag. Two things that rarely ever happen – clearly it was meant to be.

When we met at the hotel I asked, “Where are we going?”

No response. I tried again the elevator and got nothing. As I changed my clothes, “So, where are you taking me?” I asked once more when we were in the car as a final ditch effort to have some sort of idea about the cuisine I would be putting in my tummy but received nothing in return. I gave up, proud of my persistence yet still defeated.

It’s moments like that when I can see why my brother makes a great professor.

Once we were a street away, he showed me little Ethiopia. Ahh ok, we’re getting Ethiopian food! I thought to myself. Fantastic.

I’ve only had Ethiopian food once before and it was so long ago that it’s embarrassing. Ethiopian food isn’t something one seeks out in New York. Or so it seems. Which is a shame because it really is a great food to eat in a group. It seems highly unsanitary which is always fun in a dangerous sort of way – hello Korean BBQ anyone? Needless to say, I was excited.

We ended up at Nyala, a family owned restaurant that has been in Los Angeles since 1988. It was voted Best Ethiopian by the LA Times Readers Choice, which basically means there were a lot of white people there. I have faith that at one point this wasn’t that place but now it is.

Obviously, I don’t have much to say about Ethiopian food, but I will say that it was a lot of fun and very tasty. The brother and I went with the Yabesha Gommen Collard greens seasons with fresh garlic and ginger, which was very good, tangy, fresh, and cleansing. And we with the Yebere Wot Lamb, marinated in red wine and sautéed in seasoned butter, ginger, fresh garlic and onion, as our meat. The lamb was cubed, extremely tender and flavorful.

Both dishes were served on a giant plate lined in the injera bread, a traditional sour pancake used for scooping up the food. The plate also included a generous helping of lentils and a side salad that was so clearly bagged greens with generic Italian dressing that R and I laughed. On the side we received more injera.

For dessert we were confused by the options of baklava, chocolate mousse cake and cheesecake. I suppose you could say we were expecting something a little more authentic. Still, we went with the baklava, which was actually quite good.

Do you have an Ethiopian restaurant recommendation for the New York area? Please do share!

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