I have met the love of my life! Well, that might be a bit dramatic given that I am a married girl of 16 years. However, I can say that, on Monday, I met a new found love in a very unexpected cuisine. Ethiopian!
While visiting recently with friends, Lelia and Michael Bryan (Owners of Dunwoody’s fabulous Vino-Venue) , we were discussing the Frenzy and all the places we had indulged. When Lelia mentioned that her favorite type of ethnic food is Ethiopian, I immediately bird-dogged the Bryans to join us on our journey. Never in a million years would an Ethiopian restaurant have been on my radar, but I was instantly intrigued. It took awhile to get on their books given Lelia’s recent “tough” trip to Tuscany, but it was worth the wait! I looked far and wide for a restaurant on BH to fit the bill to no avail, so we had to venture off course just a bit. There is a cluster of Ethiopian restaurants in the Clairmont/Lavista Road area and I chose Desta Ethiopian Kitchen. They had me at great food reviews, great outdoor patio and a health rating of 90! And yes, it did cross our minds that we were going to an African restaurant (Ebola…YIKES!), but as a geographical reminder, Ethiopia is East Africa not West!
Fortunately, when Audra and I arrived, Lelia and Michael were already seated on the lovely patio at Desta and had appetizers waiting. The Sambusa (stuffed with beef and lentils) and Tomato Fit Fit (diced tomatoes, onion and jalapeno pepper mixed with pieces of injera) were enough to signal my taste buds that we were in for some tasty vittles.
I will freely admit that if Audra and I had come here by ourselves, we would have been fish out of water when it came to ordering. Lelia beautifully and confidently took over the menu selection. Her selections were perfect! When the large beautiful platter came to the table, Audra and I were “All In”! Basically Lelia ordered four entrees and they brought them out all together on one platter for us all to share…which is how they serve it in Ethiopia I guess!?
Here’s what you need to know about enjoying Ethiopian cuisine: Replace the word utensils with the word “injera”. Injera is a pita looking type of bread that you tear off in small pieces to wrap around whatever goodie you want on the plate.
The entrees we enjoyed were Chicken Tibs (cubed chicken sautéed in a blend of spices, onions, tomatoes, peppers and olive oil), Lamb Biret Mitad Tibs (sautéed lamb at extra high heat, served well done) and Goden Tibs (Sizzling prime short ribs marinated with Desta sauce, onion, tomato, fresh garlic and jalapeno). All were divine!
As good as the meats were, the vegetables at Desta took top billing! We had the vegetarian platter consisting of Shiro, misir, ater, dinech wot, gomen, cabbage, salad, azifa, beets and fit fit). Here’s the translation: Chickpea stew, tomato onion salad, spicy split red lentil stew, collard greens, cabbage and potato stew. As a lover of well-spiced food, I was smitten! And although the collard greens were not like what my Mammaw in Rainsville, Alabama made, they are amazing in a different way. The entire platter of meat and veggies was lined with injera that is divinely absorbed and ready to be enjoyed also.
Desta has a beautiful dessert selection to top things off. We chose the house made baklava, napoleon cake and dulce de leche cheesecake and felt well rounded out.
Desta has a very nice selection of beer, wine, and spirits as well. Michael did let us know that Ethiopian wine tends to be sweet which is not appealing to me. They let us know that you can bring your own wine for a reasonable corkage fee of $10.
I asked Michael to use some of his Vino Venue expertise and recommend some suggestions for good wine pairings. He immediately complied and I’ve listed his comments and choices below:
Sauvion Vouvray, France $14
“This crisp, fresh white offers a nice cooling contrast to the heat and spice of this cuisine. Peach, almond, and apple flavors meld with a kiss of maple. “
Chateau Lamy, France $13
“I suggest serving this medium-bodied, easy drinking red on the cool side–again, as a foil to the spicy heat common in this cuisine. “
If you are looking for a unique, romantic and affordable date night not too far from Dunwoody, Desta is a perfect destination, especially while the weather is great! Our indulgent lunch ran us only $84.52! My suggestion is to run by Vino Venue for your wine on your way to Desta Ethiopian Kitchen for one of Michael’s recommendations! I pinkie promise, you will not be disappointed! For those of us old school Atlantans, Desta is across the street from Mo’s Pizza! If you want to stay a little closer to home for a date night…then obviously Vino Venue is a fabulous date night choice too!
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
3086 Briarcliff Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
Health Rating: 90!
Our team rating: 3.9 Stars
Foodie Frenzy Week 1 (El Rey del Taco)
Foodie Frenzy Week 2 (Han IL Kwan)
Foodie Frenzy Week 3 (Nam Phoung II)
Foodie Frenzy Week 4 (Gu’s Bistro)
Foodie Frenzy Week 5 (Casa Vieja)
Foodie Frenzy Week 6 (Canton House)
Foodie Frenzy Week 7 (Pho Dai Loi #2)
Foodie Frenzy Week 8 (Bo Bo Garden)
Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement. The owners of Desta Ethiopian Kitchen are unaware of this article at time of publication. Also, Lelia and Michael were treated to lunch and did not pay for their meal to be mentioned in this article. They are our friends and we adore them and Vino-Venue and just wanted you to know!