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Habesha Market & Carry Out, Ethiopian at 9th Street and Florida Avenue in Shaw

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Habesha Market & Carry Out 1919 9th Street NW

If you're looking for cheap and pretty tasty takeout Ethiopian food this is a place to consider. I've ordered from here 4-5 times now and haven't had a bad meal. But, I've never had a meal at the level of Queen Makeda or Etete either. There can be a language issue but they are very friendly and I've never had a problem ordering what I wanted. There can be difficulty finding out what something is though with some of the descriptions being a bit less comprehensive than I'd prefer. But I've never had any nasty surprises. You can get a four item meat combo from the steam table for $7.50 or a four item veggie combo for $7.00. This is usually enough food to easily make two meals. If you go during the dinner or lunch rush the steam table items turn over fairly fast. But, I've never had trouble getting them to refresh something from the back if something looks tired. In particular I really like their spicy tripe and spicy beef from the steam table and the lentils and greens are always good. Their Kitfo is made to order and is a fairly large order for $7.50. The 50/50 is also worth trying. It is a large order of raw cubed beef and cooked beef tibs. There are quite a few tables for eating there but I've always gotten takeout. You can also get large packages of injera and bulk spices to go.

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I am in a food induced stupor from my lunch at Habesha.  I am not a huge consumer of Ethiopian as Kay really doesn't like Inerja.  But the last two weeks, when it's time to eat, I have tried it twice and it's damned good.

Today's lunch was a combo plate of Kitfo and a lamb and beef with tripe dish, Dallet. The tripe added a funky edge to what was a dry stirfry with onion, green pepper and herbs.  The Kitfo was rich and smooth.  Neither were particularly spicy even though the menu said spicy.  I don't know if this was due to their not trusting my request for sp[icy or if the cuisine is just not that spicy.  The Dallet was available raw or cooked, and I took cooked.  I will try raw in the future {I would think that witht ht e raw, the tripe is cooked}.  Lunch with a large cappuccino was under $16 with tax.  The young lady behind the food prep counter smiled when I asked for more hot sauce.

The other meal was a breakfast combo that was very tasty if a bit on the doughy side.  It was three dishes, one featuring soaked injera, one a grain dish and the third a meat dish.

I am looking forward to trying the tripe and tongue dish on the menu next time.  .

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The back dining room of Habesha has the ambiance of a Greyhound Bus Station, or a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike, pretty it is not.  A handful of tables, a grubby floor, and a TV showing ESPN.  But when the pager goes off and you pick up your big beautiful platters of Ethiopian food, you no longer care.

No. 20 - Special Veggie Combo (6 items for $9.50) ordered twice easily feed a table of five.  I would rate Habesha's veggie combo highly.  The fried Croaker ($5 each, we ordered 3) were about average for an Ethiopian joint, I've had meater fish and better fried, also much worse.  We also ordered No. 55 - Millennium Tibs short ribs ($11.95) and No. 50 - Habesha Lamb Tibs ($10.50), honestly I couldn't tell which generous pile of meat was which cut, but one was nicely flavored and the other was just fine, but both continued a long run of disappointing tibs at Ethiopian restaurants.  Multiple rounds of St. George Lager ($5 each) washed down way too much food, once again we over ordered.

The front of Habesha has shelves stocked with lentils and beans and spice powders and packaged injera.

I would definitely return for the veggie combo and add a Croaker, next time hold the tibs.  Even with the lack of ambiance.

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