by Ian McNulty
It doesn’t take much to double the city’s crop of Ethiopian restaurants. In fact, Nile Ethiopian Restaurant pulled off that feat all by itself when it opened last summer on Magazine Street, just a mile away from the city’s only other entry in this fascinating dining category, Café Abyssinia.
But a fire that started in an adjacent business in April knocked Nile out of commission. Now repairs are complete and the restaurant is back open, says owner Tessaye Mendesha, a native of Ethiopia who runs the restaurant with his family.
Nile serves a traditional menu of exuberantly spiced meat and vegetable dishes, including a family of dishes called tibs, which are like stir-fries, and another called wots (or wats), which are stews. The linchpin of this cuisine, however, is the injera bread. Flat, spongy, honeycombed with bubble pits and with the pliable consistency of a thick crepe, it is the essential delivery system for many Ethiopian dishes, serving as both the plate upon which it’s served and, when torn up into smaller wads, your utensils.
Mendesha used the involuntary five-month downtime at his restaurant to revise the menu, which now includes more seafood dishes, including a whole fish preparation, a spicy minced tilapia dish called fish dulet and a fish salad. There’s also an array of vegetarian dishes.
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant serves lunch and dinner Thursday through Tuesday. There are soft drinks, a strong, herbal Ethiopian tea and a BYOB policy.
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
2130 Magazine St., (504) 281-0859
3511 Magazine St., (504) 894-6238