Why is it so hard to find good Ethiopian food in a city as large as NYC? To be fair, we have only tried two places, but my research reveals a dearth of trusted information to know where to go. Injera received some decent reviews but didn’t even live up to the non-hype.
Let’s start with the good. The service and people were friendly and welcoming. The restaurant was full on a Wednesday night, but we were able to grab a seat at the bar. Another redeeming quality was the wine. The problem was the food – a somewhat important factor. We ordered a vegetarian platter and beef tibs. Fish tibs would have been our preference, but this dish wasn’t on the menu. Everything lacked the spicy, intense Berbere flavors I’ve come to expect from Ethiopian food, which happens to be one of my favorite cuisines. It was a perfectly boring platter.
If you have a recommendation, I’d greatly appreciate it. We’re going to head to Harlem for our next try.
My colleague and I obviously looked confused when we arrived at 132 9th Avenue and were asking each other if we had the correct address. Then the door opened, and a kind voice said “Bathtub Gin?”. The hostess invited us into a small coffee shop where another door opened, leading to the speakeasy for which we were searching. Our friend was waiting for us at our table along with multi-page cocktail and spirit menus.
Our selections consisted of a Manhattan, one of the Gin & Tonic specialities of the house, and a spicy cocktail named The Red Coal. At first, I was having trouble deciding, but when I was sold when I spotted the gin, horseradish, and Sriracha blend. A sucker for savory drinks, I absolutely loved this one. It had a citrusy kick that didn’t smack you in the face. The only problem with it was the ease and speed in which it went down.
Some olives, almonds, jamon, and cheese rounded out the happy hour. Reservations tend to be limited to two-hour increments, and we nursed our drinks a bit, so we didn’t really have enough time for a second round. I want to try some of the other options, but it will be difficult to pass up The Red Coal if it is available on my next trip.