It’s not a perfectly plated creation, but the above photo, dear reader, that’s a portrait of ingenuity. When the pandemic hit, Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant in Herndon switched to a takeout-only model. Owner Eskinder Kifetew has decided to keep it that way, at least until he feels like the crisis has abated.
Ethiopian food is intended to stretch out and unfurl its loveliness languidly. It’s not meant to be contained in a takeout box. But these are unprecedented times and Kifetew is making do. The good news: Whether you’re vegetarian or not, the packed veggie combos will make your home a happy one.
There are three sizes of the combo. Plates are available with five, seven or 10 different vegetable dishes. All are piled atop a round of injera, just like they would be at the restaurant, but more tightly crowded. It turns out, this isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed swiping together a few different stews on a single piece of the bread. The injera itself is worth the price of admission—it’s exceptionally lacy and less tangy than some others, a most delicate specimen.
I ordered the $19.50 seven-item combo. All the vegetable dishes were flavorful, with a buttery richness courtesy of the ghee that’s an ingredient in many Ethiopian dishes. My motto when it comes to that region’s cuisine is “the redder the better,” and it definitely held true in the case. My favorite stew by far was the misir wot, lentils made ruddy with berbere, the spice mix that gives Ethiopian dishes like doro wot their trademark hue and earthy burn. Among the non-lentil dishes, I was also fond of the gomen, or collard greens, so sinful they reminded me of creamed spinach.
Enatye is doing its best to keep going during a tough time. And when the food is that good, I don’t mind doing Meatless Monday at home. // 275 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon
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