We stopped by for weekday lunch at Ras Dashen, located at 2801 East Cherry Street. It is owned by Bogalech Tessema, who can occasionally be spotted socializing at the Ras Dashen bar with regulars. Upon walking into this corner building, the first impression is of airiness and light. The floor is a blonde wood, and the interior is studded with woven baskets and folksy, patterned curtains and tablecloths. It is hard to envision that this space was formerly a church. The air is sometimes redolent of incense and the televisions were tuned on this day to the French Open (though at a volume that was hardly discernible). Ras Dashen takes its name from the tallest mountain in Ethiopia.
We ordered the Dashen Vegi Combo for $11. On that day, the combo consisted of the following: Gomen (collard greens), Fosolia (string beans with tomato sauce and carrot), Misir Wot (red lentils), Shiro Wot (yellow lentils), Okra Alich’a, cabbage and salad. Our favorites were the Gomen, the Misir Wot and the Shiro Wot. The Gomen and the Shiro Wot complement each other, and so we used the injera (spongy bread that Ras Dashen serves at room temperature) to grab a bit of each in one bite. Our least favorite dish was the Fosolia, which tasted a bit too sweet. If you like spicy Ethiopian food, ask for some Awaze (a mild chili paste) on the side.
The hostess/server was personable and responsive. We did not have the opportunity to take advantage of the full bar, the honey wine, nor the great variety of Ethiopian beer that they carried. We will save that for our next trip.
Ras Dashen is one of the newest and most accessible Ethiopian restaurants, set in the heart of “Little Ethiopia” at 28th and Cherry. It distinguishes itself from others in the area with its cheery airiness. Ras Dashen is open Tuesday thru Thursday from 11 am to 11:30 pm, Friday to Saturday from 11 am to 1:30 am and Sunday from 12 pm to 12 am. It is closed on Mondays.
The Ethiopian Restaurant scene in the Central District is somewhat of an undiscovered gem. Starting this week, we will visit each and every Ethiopian restaurant in/around the Central District. Here are the restaurants we plan on visiting. Let us know in the comments, if we have missed any:
- Adey Abeba
- Ambassel (formerly Addis)
- Blue Nile
- Cafe Selam
- Ras Dashen