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Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine on East 7th Street

23 December 2008 1,125 views 8 Comments

deannaI was sitting at my desk yesterday in the late afternoon about this time. Normally, I pack lunch for work but I had forgotten it. Just when I was feeling most sorry for myself and trying to figure out how I was going to sustain my body for the rest of the day, I received a text message from Deanna: “I’m at a new ethiopian restaurant buffet on east 7th…5 blocks past uncorked to the right. It’s yum!”

I called her to beg for a to-go order of Ethiopian deliciousness and this wonderful woman actually drove to my office to drop it off for me!

The place is called Karibu: Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar and it’s so new that the website went live just last night. The word “Karibu” means “welcome” and Deanna told me that the service was very friendly. The owner greeted everyone who walked in the door and explained each dish on the buffet.

They serve organic coffee from Ethiopia, a naturally decaffeinated tea with cinnamon and cardamom that I’d love to try, and house-made bread to sop up all of the dishes (it’s traditional to eat with your hands in Ethiopia).

Karibu is open from 11 a.m. Sunday through Saturday and serves a lunch buffet on Monday through Friday until 2 p.m. for about $10. The container Deanna brought me was filled with:

meal_001

Kay Misir Wot – Red Lentils in Spicy Sauce
Tikil Gomen – Cabbage, carrots, onion, tomato
Abesha Gomen – Collard greens served with a salad
Doro Wot – Slow cooked chicken in a red pepper sauce, served with egg
Kik Alicha – Yellow Lentils in Mild Sauce

They plan to provide live entertainment in the future and are open until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Karibu is located at 1209 E. 7th Street. Phone is 512.320.5454. This meal was only the second Ethiopian food I’ve experienced. The food was pretty spicy but really tasty and enjoyable. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender. The sponge bread is ok but after it gets totally soaked with stew, the entire experience is pretty messy so make sure you dine with someone you feel comfortable with if you go!

Have any of you tried Aster’s Ethiopian? Do you like it? I’ve never been so I’m counting on you guys to share your opinion.

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  • Marcos

    I’ve been to Asther’s and I’ll be happy to compare the two.
    My review

    PS: You blog a lot, you must have tons of free time. :)

  • Anonymous

    Asther’s is not bad, but not great. You having lived in DC will have had much better.

  • Jodi

    Marcos – Your review of Aster’s was hilarious…it amazes me that your command of the English language is strong enough that you can be funny (sometimes) even when you aren’t speaking Spanish ;-)

    Anonymous – I know there is a large Ethiopian community in D.C. and that is where I ate it for the first time. It was too long ago to compare though.

  • Jordan

    I didn’t know Austin had Ethiopian food at all. Did you ever try Ghenet in NYC? So good.

  • tom benton

    I visited Aster’s a year or so ago and found it pretty good but far too expensive for a plate of steam table fare. My Ethiopian experience is pretty limited, and DC set a high, high bar. I’ll look forward to pedaling over to Karibu from campus the moment weather is permitting.

  • Adam

    I’m with Tom. I like Aster’s now and then but it’s a tad pricey for what it is – good but unspectacular Ethiopian. One thing about Ethiopian… it’s not really meant for takeout. Half the fun is getting a big variety platter of delicacies with your friends and then everyone digging in with the injera. Unless you’re Marcos and you need a fork ;-)

  • DAG

    Just to emphasize again..
    The food is ORGANIC :)

  • Anonymous

    Aster’s now has a lunch buffet.