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The Life-Affirming Properties of Chickpea Stew at Lalibela

LA Weekly's latest review offers some haunting praise


This week, LA Weekly's Garrett Snyder highlights Lalibela, a two-month-old restaurant on the concentrated Fairfax stretch of Little Ethiopia. The north Ethiopian chef, Tenagne Belachew, cut her teeth working in the kitchens of neighboring restaurants Rahel and Marathon before opening her own family-run spot with her daughters.

In the review, G. Sny explains that "while it's true that Lalibela serves many of the Ethiopian staples common everywhere else, it's the delicate, subtly spiced details that set it apart." These details realize themselves in dishes like an outstanding chickpea stew called bozena shiro:

It arrives bubbling hot in a small, black cauldron, along with big floppy sheets of injera — the thin, slightly spongy sourdough pancake that you use to sop up the ruddy, brick-red stew. The bozena shiro is deep and earthy, like the booming pluck of a bass string. The injera cuts through with a lemony tang, and you're left wondering how the simple combination of beans and bread can pack such a revelatory amount of pleasure. [LAW]

The critic concludes with high praise for the newly minted restaurant, calling it a "family-run jewel you might dream about encountering, a place where recipes are passed down through several generations." In the end, Snyder leaves feeling positively "haunted by something as simple as chickpea stew," which certainly sounds like high praise indeed.

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant

2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Manhattan, NY 10026 (917) 409-1609 Visit Website