Blue Nile serves fresh Ethiopian goodness at a great price
I recently discovered the Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant in its barely visible Gladstone location, and was happy to find the restaurant open in spite of its apparent lack of diners. As I looked around at the colossal elephant tusks featured along the wall and listened to the synthesized music that played in the background, I wondered if this restaurant would live up to the competition.
Ethiopian food is an informal affair as most dishes are served up family style on top of a large piece of pancake-like injera bread. The injera also becomes your main utensil, as you tear off pieces of the sour bread and scoop up the various spicy stews with your hands. Sure this means you’re going to be eating a lot of bread, but since injera is made with teff, a grain that’s particularly high in iron, carb phobic readers should lighten up – this bread’s genuinely good for you.
The injera at the Blue Nile was incredibly fresh and far less sour than those I’ve tried elsewhere. The stews here were also superb. The vegetarian and beef combination platters we ordered ranged from subtly spiced to fiery hot, and though all the vegetable, pulse and beef dishes were delicious, the Tibese wat was particularly good.
We washed it all down with a jug of tej, a homemade honey wine with a sweet taste and a floral finish. Though I have to say I prefer pairing Ethiopian food with a nice cold beer.
My date was feeling adventurous and insisted we try the Kurt, one of a number of dishes on the menu featuring raw or very rare beef. The server seemed a little taken aback by our order, and made sure that we were aware of its preparation. Though the menu described it as a kind of Ethiopian steak tartare, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the shocking sight put before me: four good-sized hunks of lean beef, two sharp knives and a side of killer hot sauce. Tasting like an unusually tender steak, and not at all bloody, the raw meat was surprisingly good with a dollop of the awaze hot sauce, and a bit of mitmita (a dried version of the spice blend in the awaze). In any case, it was certainly worth a try, and there are plenty of cooked options on the menu for those who don’t like their food quite so raw.
Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
577 Gladstone Ave.
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