Before I even delve into our dining experience at Dukem, I want to apologize for the lack of pictures. I did take plenty that evening but I lost the photos when our laptop was stolen during our trip in Europe. That should teach me to always back up our data, right? Right. ::le sigh:: Anyway, I hope you find our meal selections still somewhat helpful despite the lack of images.
I first tried Ethiopian cuisine when I was in college. One of my friends was just wrapping up her freshman year at Yale and she took me to one in New Haven. It was amazing but I didn't have much of a chance to try it again until a decade later. Since DC has a ton of great Ethiopian restaurants, I convinced Mr. J and the rest of the family to try out Dukem over 4th of July weekend. It's one of the more popular ones in town based on authenticity and taste.
As soon as we were seated, everyone made a request to have the nontraditional set-up of having separate plates for the table. Typically, you share one large plate filled with the sponge bread and rice and everyone digs in with bare hands. The family was not having that at all lol.
For appetizer, I ordered the sambusa with meat. In a nutshell, it's a yummy pastry filled with ground beef and pepper. Everyone's first reaction was to call it the Ethiopian version of an empanada. It arrived steaming hot on a plate and I pretty much devoured it in a few minutes.
I decided to go all out for dinner and ordered the Dukem Combo, which included lamb wot, doro wot, and minchet abesh. Basically, it's a meat combo that has lamb, chicken, and ground beef in it. Each meat is cooked in its separate stew or sauce and you eat it with the injera (aka sponge bread). I enjoyed the meal more when I took some of Mr. J's rice and added it to my banquet. Injera was good to me but was a bit tough to wrap around my meat since it kept breaking. After a few minutes of making an attempt to eat with my hands, I asked for a knife and fork.
Mr. J ordered a vegetarian combination since he wanted lighter fare. He also knew that he had plenty of meat options with my order. lol. His veggie combo came with lentils, yellow peas, greens, and salad with fish. However, I don't recall him actually eating the fish. He said that the injera was just ok but could do without the next time. The lentils and yellow peas mix was great in his book.
Big Sis and Momma J ordered lamb tibs, which are cubed chunks of meat with spicy awaze sauce served with injera and a salad. Their plates smelled wonderful. The sauce was definitely spicy, so be warned.
The family consensus was that the food was good and that they enjoyed the experience. However, it won't be their first or second stop the next time they are back in the area. lol. At least they tried, right? I am more than happy to go back as long as someone dines with me.