Johnna’s Pick of the Week (Travel Edition): Awash (NY)

[ 0 ] July 30, 2009 |

Good service. New York. The two together sound like an oxymoron. That was until we came across the uptown eatery, Awash. Right now, JKGF is on a heavy Ethiopian food kick…we can’t get enough of it, seriously. So much so, we traveled all the way to Awash via gypsy cab to get some good Ethiopian grub just outside of Harlem. We found it was worth the trip and that’s even in the pouring rain. Reasons why it was worth it:

1. The wait staff was really nice! And mind you, that’s not by NY standards which just means they don’t look like they want to throw the silver ware and bread at you, but they actually smiled and made us feel like we were in for a good meal, service included.

2. The food. Since we’re new to Ethiopian cuisine, we can only base these standards on about 4-5 other restaurants, but it definitely matched what we’ve had in D.C. and if we say so ourselves, D.C. is the rest haven for Ethiopian food on the East Coast.


3. The price was reasonable on all standards. For $10.50, we got a Combo that included two meats and 3 veggies. We literally ate on this meal for the next two days.

Entering the restaurant, you won’t get much of an ohh or ahh and the crowd that forms at Blockhead can be distracting. Stay focused, there’s something good to come. Though the place isn’t anything fancy, it is the food and atmosphere that makes you visit this place. Dim lighting filled the room @ our 8 pm dining time and many of the patrons seemed to be regulars or had some sense of familiarity with the place.

We ordered DORO ALICHA (*chicken cooked in kibe (herb butter), onions and green peppers); YEBEG WAT (*succulent lamb stew seasoned hearty berbere sauce); YEMESIR KIK WAT (*split red lentils cooked in berbere sauce); SHIRO (*crowned chick peas, mildly spiced, cooked with chopped onions and tomatoes) and the Red Beets. All this was delicious, but its the injera that drives us to love this food. Even though it doesn’t have much flavor or no exotic spices in it, it is the only way to eat Ethiopian food. We really enjoy eating with our hands and forget about our $40 EA manicure when the food comes out circling the injera. Awash was careful in the amount of spices that it added to each dish and didn’t overwhelm us with intense heat…we like this. For those that do love the heat, ask them to turn it up a notch.

Awash was a good stop on our journey for the top Ethiopian restaurants out there. We give it a thumbs up for good Ethiopian cuisine on this side of NY. We recommend you visit with somebody you already know, who likes Ethiopian food and cannot be swayed to eat Mexican food (*the drink specials at Blockhead are distracting…good distraction…but distracting, nonetheless…).

*Johnna’s tip: Awash negatives=Please add opening/closing times to your website! It’s so necessary.

Awash on Urbanspoon

Category: Johnna's Pick of the Week, restaurant reviews, Travels

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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