Saturday, August 2, 2008

Abyssinia Market Cafe

Some restaurants' menus are vegetarian friendly. Others are not. And then there are restaurants like Abyssinia Market Cafe, which not only include vegetarian offerings on their menu, but advertise their vegetarian-friendly status right on the restaurant sign.

Abyssinia Market Cafe is a tiny Ethiopian restaurant housed on the first floor of a building which appears to have originally been a private home. The restaurant has a very casual and comfortable atmosphere.

Diners sit at mesobs (small woven tables). The meal begins with a basket of hot washcloths, for cleaning one's hands. (For those unfamiliar with Ethiopian cuisine, it is eaten by hand; silverware is not placed at the table.) The entrées for all guests at the table are served on top of a single injera (spongy, slightly sour pancake-like bread) large enough to cove the entire table top. A basket of rolled-up injera slices, for scooping up the entrées, is also provided.

On a recent visit, I started with a sambosa, a triangular pocket of crisp, layered dough wrapped around a seasoned lentil filling ($1.99). The sambosa was served without any sort of accompaniment, but was flavorful enough to stand on its own. My companion ordered a glass of the honey wine ($3.50). It was sweet, but not oppressively so.

There were a number of vegetarian entrées on the menu. Because I couldn't decide on just one, I went with the vegetarian combo ($10), which includes a little of everything. Unfortunately, I don't have the names of all of the dishes, but basically, the combo included servings of: lentils, spicy lentils, yellow split peas, spicy split peas, greens, green beans and seasoned roast vegetables (carrots, cabbage and potatoes). All were good, but I especially liked the spicy lentils and spicy split peas.

If you have leftovers (as we did), just fold up that portion of the injera, and place it in your takeout box.

Our server was very friendly and knowledgeable, and we were served relatively quickly.

Because the restaurant is small, reservations may be advisable, especially on the weekend.

Abyssinia Market Cafe
4116 E. Colfax (between Albion and Ash)
Denver, CO 80220
(303) 316-8830

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