Ethiopian immigrants must be among the nation's canniest restaurateurs. Though numbering only 33,000 nationwide, they've assembled an impressive collection of restaurants in major American cities: Washington boasts 17, Seattle 11, and New York 12, plus a pair of Eritrean joints. Many share an assortment of predictable names like Blue Nile, Red Sea, Queen of Sheba, and Meskerem (the joyous first month of the Coptic Christian calendar), though none seems part of a chain. Sadly, they also mount nearly identical menus of brick-colored meat stews and hard-to-differentiate pulse purees. Between the intriguing and sometimes fiery spice combinations and the chance to eat with your fingers without your parents lurking around to scold you, most of these places are pretty appealing anyway. But Ethiopian cooking... More >>>
By photo: Chris Smith
Asnake and Thomas Kebede sit and eat their own vegetarian combo at Queen of Sheba.