Eats.

Meske.

Hell’s Kitchen.

Meske_2

I hate to admit it, but if you asked, I’m definitely one of those “rather have a gift than an experience” girl. Or I was. Nowadays, I’d like to think I’m a healthy mix – but you can’t help who you are, right?

Roughly two years ago, my sister – one of those ‘experience’ individuals – came to visit New York. Her main task during the long weekend was to decide what and/or where she wanted to eat. While I was at work that Friday, she spent the day exploring Central Park by herself. She befriended an older, Ethiopian man who suggested a neighborhood favorite locale.

‘Just like mom made.’

Her palate had recently experienced Ethiopian food and was forever changed. “You eat with your hands!” she said. “Doesn’t that sound like fun!?” I tried to match my enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong – I figured it had to be close to a mix between Indian and Mediterranean food…right? With no utensils?

Long story short – WAY better than a mix of Indian/ Mediterranean. Ethiopian gets a special finger-food-chicken-falling-off-the-bone category all on its own. Two words: honey wine.

– – –

Over the weekend, Cha invited me out to a new Ethiopian place she found a few weeks back with some friends: Meske. (Correct me if I’m mistaken – the floor is open – but I think it used to be called Meskerem.)

LET ME JUST SAY, the honey wine at this little hole in the wall is legit. Ab.solutely.legit. I’m still rueing that split second when I decided to go for a glass instead of splurging for the bottle  – which, by the way, you can buy at the restaurant if you ask! It’s their own!

Located on the corner of 47th and 10th, you walk in to dim lights and colorful artwork. There’s a rectangular canvas on the wall with various headshots of this lady – STUNNING. We asked to sit by the window to people watch, but honestly, was too preoccupied by what was in front of us, from the menu to the bill.

Now, you might disagree with my menu suggestions based on your diet (read: carn, herb or omnivore?), but you MUST (must, must, must) order the Avocado appetizer. Chopped avocado, tomatoes, onions, and green peppers with some sort of vinaigrette over injera (read: spongy, sour flatbread that acts as both a meal addition and utensil).

Meske_3

We ended up ordering #16 – the Meskerem combo – that includes tibs wat, gomen besaega, yebeg alecha, miser alech, and miser wat*. I think it took us a good 20 minutes to clear the platter. Rounding up. For those with a spicier tongue dining with a friend who prefers mild, Meske will happily provide an extra dish of spice flakes for you!

Final though: taste aside, portion sizes were also decent for the price. A definite, definite must on anyone’s foodie list.

*Menu items:

  • Tibs Wat prime beef cooked in a pan, then sauteed with red wine and finished with berbere sauce
  • Gomen Besaega a special cut of prime beef seasoned with garlic, onions and ginger, then finished with boiled collard greens
  • Yebeg Alecha tender pieces of lamb marinated with butter then sauteed with ginger, garlic and curry
  • Miser Alech split lentils dipped with ginger, garlic, onions, olive oil and curry
  • Miser Wat split lentils with garlic, onions, olive oil and finished with berbere sauce

s/o to Mama Cha!

PS – I think I’d like to be an experience kind of girl from now on. (Food Good food is sort of like a gift, right?)
Meske Ethiopian Restaurant
468 W 47th St, New York 10036
http://www.meskeethiopianrestaurant.com
(212) 664-0520

xx

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