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Bete Ethiopian, Owner Teru Fentike's Authentic Ethiopian on Roeder Road in Downtown Silver Spring

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Closed, and reopened (presumably under new owners) as Bete Ethiopian.

Tim Carman had  a nice WaPo piece about Bete yesterday.  Being kitfo fiends, G and I decided to check it out for lunch today.  Forewarned to be specific about rawness levels in the kitfo, we went with totally raw (which rings up as "warm"), plus a vegetarian platter, plus a side of fasolia (green beans and carrots, $2 upcharge).

It was as good as we had hoped, maybe even better.  Their style of kitfo is minced relatively coarsely, a bit darker and drier than most, yet tender.  It was buttery and well-seasoned throughout, and really doesn't need additional mitmita.  One of the most delectable I've had.   G thought the gomen had a nice, almost citrusy bite to it, and particularly liked the salad.  I went straight to the yemisir kikwot; this version was a nice dark brick red, very rich, and well-stewed.  Also notable was the azifa that Carman mentioned, which almost had a mustard green character to it.

The only dull spot was the kik alicha (yellow lentils) which were rather toothier than I'd like.

Many of their desserts are actually vegan, and when you walk in you can't miss the large trays of rustic Napoleons for dessert.  The vegan version was surprisingly good, and you'd be hard-pressed to tell that it was dairy-free, except that the custard was a bit sticky.  We didn't try the coffee.  They do sell vacuum-packed bags of roasted whole Ethiopian beans, as well.

While it may not have the traditional decor (read: uncomfortable seats) of some other Ethiopian restaurants in the area, if it's consistently this good, I think we might have our new favorite for MoCo Ethiopian.

The location is a bit unusual, a small house set among the midrises and old office buildings of downtown Silver Spring, on the block behind the Silver Theater.  There are only three parking spaces in front, but street parking in the area, and of course the city's large garages nearby.  As the signs warn you, do not park in the ample empty spaces in front of the liquor store next door.

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