Named Among The Best Restaurants
In The World
by Tao Nguyen | Feb 9 2020
The Misto platter, a combination of beef dishes and greens.
Left: a communal serving dish traditional in Ethiopian and Eritrean culture.
A Syracuse restaurant is among the 20 best new restaurants in the world, according to CNN. The list named EthioEritrea Restaurant, which opened at 505 N. State St. in Syracuse last November, as one of its best new spots in the world. The building was last home to Mai Lan, one of Syracuse’s oldest Vietnamese restaurants. It closed in October 2018 after more than 20 years in business.
How EthioEritrea Restaurant made to the list is the eatery's authenticity. EthioEritrea, a ten-table restaurant, retains the family and traditional atmosphere of owner Tesfahiwot Okube's former cafe. Wicker baskets known as mesobs serve as communal serving dishes, and it’s a meal about far more than the food, describes CNN. Okube, an Eritrean native first cooked professionally at a cafe in the Ethiopian refugee camp he called home for seven years, before arriving at Syracuse.
Photo: EthioEritrea FB
What's On The Menu
The reasonably-priced menu consists of traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes, many of which start with injera, a sourdough teff flour flatbread used as a utensil for the stews. Among the other specialties of the restaurant is the formal coffee ceremony, in which the coffee beans are roasted over an open flame, ground, mixed with water and spices in an earthen pot called a jebena and heated over coals, resulting in a uniquely bold, thick, spiced coffee.
Okube’s menu is wide-ranging, but many start with the same base—injera, the sourdough flatbread made of teff flour that serves as the primary utensil, as the food is traditionally eaten by peeling off pieces of the flatbread and using it to grab the food. Many of the dishes are stews, called wots, made with meat—often beef, lamb or chicken—and a variety of vegetables. Another page of the menu is devoted to vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as braised greens and stews made with red lentils or chickpeas.
Weekend Coffee Treat
Ethiopian coffee is served daily, and the real treat is available on the weekends, when the restaurant offers a formal coffee ceremony. Traditional in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the ceremony starts with roasting the coffee beans over an open flame. The beans are then ground and mixed with water in an earthen pot called a jebena. Heated over coals, the finished coffee is unfiltered, quite strong and served in small cups alongside popcorn and other snacks.
Address: 505 N State St, 13203 Syracuse, New York
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Right: The jabena, a traditional Ethiopean coffee brewing vessel.