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Tigi's Ethiopian Restaurant, Baltimore National Pike and Normandy Woods Drive in Ellicott City

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There's apparently a void of Ethiopian options north of Burtonsville, until you get to Tigi's (8459 Baltimore National Pike), which is sort of hidden in the second row of a very nondescript shopping center off Rt 40, a few intersections east of US 29.  But this is a nice option to have even from a bit farther away.

It would be tempting to accuse Tigi's of presenting slightly Americanized Ethiopian, but really in the best way possible.  It's not dumbed down.  The flavors are there, almost unusually clear, and this is less about wanting more stewing time and more about their light hand with the niter kibbeh.  It shows in their mesir wat, where the ginger doesn't simply fade into the background.  It really shows up in their style of raw kitfo, where the spices sort of dance around instead of hiding behind a rich buttery film, and the condiments are served on a side plate.

It's totally nonfancy.  The decor is sort of generic lunchtime cafe.  But this would be a good starting point if you're trying to introduce a finicky diner to Ethiopian cuisine.

We were also surprised to find a decent little Turkish market a couple of doors down.  Picked up some sweets, and a couple of tetrapaks of viÅŸne (sour cherry) juice.

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