Thursday, February 1, 2007

Merkato...I agree with everyone else in LA

1036 1/2 Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, California 90019
(323) 935-1775
Everyday 11AM-11PM

Here's some cheap, amazing Ethiopian food in Little Ethiopia. If you haven't eaten Ethiopian you're in for a real treat. No utensils. You eat with your hands by tearing off a piece of buckwheat spongey bread called injera. The meal also comes out family style on a huge piece of injera. Lots of savory meats flavored in ways you forgot your mouth could taste.

Merkato is located in Little Ethiopia just south of Olympic on Fairfax. I'd have to recommend you trying the Tibbs (cubes of beef with onion, tomatoes and green chillies), the lentils which are seasoned to be a little spicy and tenderly flavorful, the Yedoro Wot (chicken stewed in red pepper sauce with an assortment of spices served with hard boiled egg), and the Yebeg Alicha Wot (mild lamb stew, delicately spiced with garlic, ginger and other assorted spices). These dishes are absolutely to die for and are healthy servings as well! Before I forget, they also have some great vegetarian dishes (of note are the cabbage dish and the collard greens dish both flavored on the mild side) that also satisfy the vegan in you who loves cows but not the way McDonald's does.

A story, if you will, about the first time we went to have Ethiopian goes like this... One day coming home from work we just up and decided to go have Ethiopian. We had passed by the area plenty of times on our way home and thought now's as good a time as any. We picked out Merkato just cause it looked friendly and was open. We went in, got our table and started looking over the menus that were... if you'll excuse the pun, very foreign to us. We ordered a couple of items, some veggie and some carnivore, to get the full experience. After a couple of minutes we see another table's dinner coming out... and the plate was basically what appeared to be large cubes of uncooked beef! We got a little worried cause we realized that we didn't check to see that our food was cooked... we just assumed it would be. It was nice that some of the people at the table saw us getting worried and laughed it up a bit as they chomped down on the cow flesh. Come to find out later that they were eating a dish called Tere-sega. If I'm ever bold enough to buy it I'll let you know my thoughts on it.

In the end I remind you that this place is cheap... really cheap. You can have a bunch of your friends out for family dining and all eat off the same plate with your hands just like when you were a kid and spent the night at your friends place.

Free Drink Refills: No (but once again I'll say try the Ethiopian beer with it...they pair very well together and I do beleieve they have their food in mind when they are creating it).

Entree Price Range: $7 to $10

P.S. They are attached to their own market so if you want to attempt such delicasies yourself you can buy the ingredients right there!

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