Emanu is an East African restaurant in town I’d been wanting to go to for a very long time. On the few nights we go out, we typically chose to visit places we’d already been instead of trying the new place. Thankfully, Emanu is no longer new, and I can’t wait to go back.
If you’re familiar with Ethiopian food, this should look familiar:
This was the food for both of us, served on one plate on injera. Injera is like a fluffy crepe made from fermented teff, which is a fine grain grown in Ethiopia. The striking flavor of the injera, to me, is how it resembles a fluffy sourdough pancake.
In addition to the injera under the food, you get rolls of injera to use to pick up and eat the food. Although they provide utensils, traditionally you pick up bites of the food with the bread and eat with your hands.
As for the meal, we got two orders of what amounts to the combination platter, hiwswas (beyaynetu). As shown below, from bottom left to right, this includes: spiced lentils stewed in red sauce; green beans and carrots; spiced cabbage cooked with onions and peppers; collard greens; and, yellow lentils.
Each of these vegetables was really good. I particularly liked the green beans and carrots, which were sweet and crisp with charred roasted bits. The collard greens were also really good, as were both lentil dishes. Everything was good.
We also ordered the vegetarian appetizer, vegetable sambussa. These were deep-fried pockets of vegetables, onions, and herbs. This is a close-up, they were pretty small and just enough to get introduced to the Ethiopian flavors that were new to both of us.
One thing to know about Emanu is that they do not have a liquor license and instead allow you to BYO. The menu is small, but I will certainly be returning for these vegetable dishes. By the end of the night, we were both full on bread and veg and very pleased with our first East African experience.
So, I hear Ethiopian food is popular these days. Did that happen five years ago for those of you who aren’t in Cincinnati? If so, I’m jealous.