Note: this post was imported from EthnicEats.ca
Ethiopian food is one of the funnest cuisines to eat with a friend, so it makes me exceedingly happy that there are so many excellent Ethiopian restaurants close to my house. And when Travis suggested I try Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant (one I hadn’t even heard of), I knew we would be dining there soon.
At the suggestion of the chef/proprietor we had the mixed veggie combo and the #14 lamb stew, medium spicy. As with all Ethiopian cuisine, it comes on a large piece of injera bread, with the stews or wats placed on top. In the top photo you can see the various vegetarian dishes; spinach boiled with spices, marinated vegetables in spices, fresh salad. red lentil stew, and corn. The lamb was brought out in a separate bowl, to be spooned out into the centre and more injera accompanied the dish on the side, to be used in scooping up the stews.
Everything was supremely tasty. The lamb was tender and expertly spiced and the vegetable “dishes” complemented by either offsetting the heat of the meat with spices or with actual temperature (in the case of the cold, fresh salad). The bread used to wrap and eat the stews is the best part, though. Their injera is soft and fresh and handmade on the premises. This is a process, we learned, that is fairly simple, but takes 3 days for the dough to rise properly and a seemingly large amount of pans, since the injera has to be cooled separately from each other to keep from sticking. Like everything else these days, the chef told us there is apparently “instant injera” available, but at Fassil it’s homemade and it did taste heavenly. Perfectly spongy and slightly sour, it’s much more than a conduit for the wats.
“Fabulous” in the traditional sense, is probably not the best word to describe Fassil, a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant close to Fraser and Broadway. But if you mean (as I do) fabulous in the sense that you can walk in and feel right at home, where you are welcomed and appreciated and where everything is clean if not fancy, then it is the perfect adjective.
We were drinking beer with dinner but after making our food, the owner and his wife sat down with a friend and had traditional Ethiopian coffee. It was hard to ignore the elaborate pouring going on behind us, with ceremonial cups and incense and when I asked about it, we were immediately offered a cup with a smile. Little gestures like that are so meaningful in a dining out world filling up fast with insolent twenty-something hostesses that it made me want to hug them. Instead, I will simply make a point of returning. I still want to check out the Addis Cafe and the Red Sea Cafe for comparison, but it will be hard not to head immediately back to Fassil…like tonight.
Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant
5-736 East Broadway