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Chercher, Owner Alemayehu Abebe's Local Ethiopian Mini-Chain in Shaw and Downtown Bethesda

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Surprised there isn't a thread for this place yet.  It has, for my money, the best Ethiopian food in Shaw/U Street.  Wonderful veggie platters, plus delicious kitfo and doro wat.  Note that they don't have fuul or chicken tibs though (just beef and lamb).  Great takeout too; tons of food at great prices.

Anyway, I'm posting because of this exciting, yet concerning article.  Chercher is expanding, which is great, but the article contains a tidbit that I desperately hope will turn out not to be the case:

""Abebe says he’s also started work on a 60-seat Columbia Heights location at 3608 14th Street NW that’s scheduled to open in February. That Chercher, the smallest of the bunch, will house a large kitchen in the back where staffers will prepare and cook all of the food for the entire chain. Abebe says he’s installing a central kitchen, in part, to maintain quality control across the brand.

"Ethiopian Chain Chercher Plots Massive Area Expansion" by Lenore Adkins on dc.eater.com (*)

“The problem is … they don’t cook the same,” Abebe told Eater DC. “Because why does it take a while to cook a stew, like chicken stew long hours? So we (will) cook in one place so everywhere people go, they get the same kind of food.”"

They're going to make all the food in Columbia Heights and then, what, reheat it?  This sounds like a no-good, very bad plan.

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My first question: Is "Chercher" pronounced like the French verb, Chercher "to search?" Or is it pronounced like the Ethiopian spice, Berbere? I could see it going either way, or even down a third path (Ethiopia was colonized by Italy, not France - Interesting Trivia: Ethiopia is the only African country to have been colonized by Italy ... it's why you often see spaghetti on menus).

(*) See that, Eater? That one bit of accreditation is more than you've given donrockwell.com in years, despite us having interviewed Andy Hayler. Ask yourselves: Are you publishing for the benefit of DC Diners, or for your own personal gain? Now ask yourselves again. And again.

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This is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, believe it or not.

One might think that a Bib Gourmand restaurant (or the critics that are lauding it) might pick up on such blatant typos on their website:

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 23.29.35.png <--- Or, at least, mention the amazing collection of wines on the side wall. 🙄

Nice job, everyone - I hope you'll excuse me if I keep on doing what I've been doing.


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Bib Gourmand or not 🤔 we had a very enjoyable dinner here tonight. My chicken tibs was delightful, and while I'm no expert on injera we found their version to be tasty, made from a darker teff flour and with a wonderful sour note. My wife had the house special tibs, wonderfully tender beef. Our son enjoyed the pasta with meat sauce, but honestly was much more excited about the injera.

Service was very friendly but the kitchen moved slowly, which wasn't an issue as it was a nice night to sit on the porch.

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