2605 E Cherry St
Seattle, WA 98122
Meskel is one of a large handful of Ethiopian restaurants on the stretch of Cherry between MLK and 23rd, and is quite possibly one of the most aesthetically pleasing of the bunch. It sits high off of Cherry, and is separated from the street by a raised terrace patiently hibernating until summer.
Inside, the restaurant is clean and intimate with rich colors and African art. Water was served in a wine glass with a slice of lime. We sat against the bank of windows looking out onto Cherry, and it felt cozy and homey and entirely lacking the dinginess that many Ethiopian restaurants sometimes have.
The vegetarian combo makes it easy for a vegetarian to eat here. The combo consists of a big round platter lined with a piece of moist, spongy, sour injera bread that is covered in colorful blobs of vegetarian delights... red lentils, yellow lentils, greens, potatoes, salad, tomato fitfit... each of which was deliciously spiced (though none were spicy in a hot way) and gave the impression of slow cooking. A basket of extra injera and a bowl of mild white cheese came along side the main platter.
It all tasted good, but I found the entire meal to be too salty. Certain elements were more salty than others (the greens were exceptionally salty while the tomato fit fit was less so). Even the injera, which was perfect in every other way, tasted like it was packed with salt. It felt a shame in this cuisine of fragrant and pungent spices to fall so heavily on the salt.
Ethiopian food tends to be entertaining and easy for a vegetarian, and aside from the saltiness, I enjoyed the atmosphere and experience of this particular restaurant.
Morning After Update:
All three of us developed unpleasant stomach symptoms. Not serious, but not fun. Maybe it was a coincidence, but probably something good to consider when choosing a restaurant before an important or inflexible day.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
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