No matter how much time you’ve spent on the Hilltop, there are always new culinary discoveries to be made, even in the Georgetown neighborhood. Take Das Ethiopian, formerly known as Zed’s.
Still in the same location, on the far end of M Street, the restaurant has maintained the same ambiance and element of pleasant surprise, and of course, they are still serving Ethiopian food.
Ethiopian cuisine is centered around spicy stewed meats and vegetables and the signature bread called injera. Injera is one of the most interesting things about Ethiopian food. The texture of the bread is spongy and similar to that of a thin, flexible pancake, with a flavor similar to that of sourdough bread. The bread is also the key component to another aspect of Ethiopian cuisine: it is the utensil used to pick up food. In other words, you eat Ethiopian food with your hands.
While dining at Das, I suggest starting with the Ethiopian cheese, kaisa, which is a great, mild start to the meal and a good way to taste the injera. Ethiopian food in general is pretty balanced in offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and Das Ethiopian is no exception. There were choices in both groups that seemed delicious, but we decided to go with the chicken and beef entree sampler, which was savory and incorporated a range of spices and flavors.
Unfortunately, the meat was slightly overcooked and on the dry side, but the juices from the stew more than made up for it.
The spice is not as strong as the typical “hot” that you get with wings or salsa but a deeper and mellower kind. The service was quick, the wait staff attentive, polite and helpful. The ambiance was lovely: calm and exotic. Das is a great place for a date or a nice night out with friends.
Along with our food, we ordered sparkling water, which our waitress told us traditionally accompanies dinner in Ethiopian culture. The decision just added to an authentic, cultural night out. It was a great time, and our food was interesting and wonderful. The menu has a variety of options for the more adventurous diner as well as for the more cautious. For those who were fans of Zed’s and haven’t had a chance to check out Das Ethiopian, it is worth a trip.