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Gebeta, Ethiopian on Georgia and Silver Spring Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring

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My friend the kitfo fanatic read about a new restaurant called Gebeta and got a group together to try it. Six of us had a delicious meal there. The setting is simple, white tablecloths and chairs (not the low tables and stools commonly found at Ethiopian restaurants), and a piano (well-played and not distractingly loud, and a nice choice of music, too). Cloth napkins but no utensils.

The menu setup is a little strange. The vegetable dishes are not priced a la carte, but as combinations (choose 4, 6, or 8 dishes) from the vegetarian section of the menu. The meat dishes each come with two vegetable sides. So we ordered two meat dishes and one vegetable combo (4 dishes), and asked that the sides just be more of the same. Clearly this is not what we got; either that or the vegetable portions are shockingly small. It seems that they expect people to put the priority on meat unless they're vegetarians, which is exactly the opposite of the way I like to eat, but oh well.

Everything was served on a single large platter lined with injera, with plates of more injera for each diner:


The kitfo was excellent, but the fanatic thought it not the best she'd had in the area. We also tried doro tibs (a boneless chicken breast dish), misir wat (lentils with berbere), kik alicha (yellow split peas), gomen wet (collard greens), and shiro wet (a different split peas preparation). I thought everything had a brightness of taste that I don't usually get from Ethiopian cooking, but lacking a certain depth*.

We gobbled everything up, though, and conversation went dead for a few minutes except for a few sotto voce yummy noises. And then we ordered more kitfo, and gobbled that up, too (though more slowly and with civilized conversation).


Gebeta was certainly more comfortable then the nearby Addis Ababa, but I'm not sure if the food was significantly better (or worse). Guess I'll have to go to AA soon and do a comparo.

*I have no idea how Ethiopian food is cooked, nor do I how how the kitchen at Gebeta operates, but it was like the difference between making a stewed dish where each ingredient is cooked separately and combined later (brightness), and everything thrown in the pot together near the start (depth).

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