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Originally published Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:15 AM

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Abay: Ethiopian fare spices up a quiet corner of Capitol Hill

Abay Ethiopian Cuisine showcases the complex flavor profile and bold spices of East African cuisine.


Seattle Times staff reporter

Abay Ethiopian Cuisine

African

2359 10th Ave. E., Seattle; 206-257-4778; www.abayethiopiancuisine.com

Hours: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Etc: Credit cards accepted, wheelchair accessible; beer and wine; parking in lot or on street

Prices: $$

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I hope Abay succeeds. They are always friendly and the food is delicious, but I worry... MORE

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The charming restaurant space at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East Miller Street — on the less party-centric, northern tip of Capitol Hill — has had so many tempting incarnations over the years. It’s a tough location. There are more cars heading toward the nearby onramps to Interstate 5 than hungry diners strolling the sidewalks.

Now calling the storefront home is Abay Ethiopian Cuisine, which brings a heaping dose of East African spice to an otherwise chilled-out neighborhood.

The menu: The complex flavors of Ethiopian cooking come through in the stewed chicken, beef, lamb and vegetable dishes that make up the lengthy menu. Doro wot, chicken cooked in a chili pepper, garlic and ginger sauce known as berbere and served with a marinated boiled egg ($14), and yebeg tibs, lamb pieces sautéed with garlic, green pepper, cardamom, ginger and awaze, a red-pepper paste ($13.50), showcase the incredible layered quality of East African cuisine.

Meatless options include shiro feses, toasted, ground chick peas cooked with berbere, onion, ginger and garlic ($13).

You will use your fingers a lot here. Dishes come with the spongy, fermented flatbread called injera, to scoop up the various dishes, which are typically thick stews.

What to write home about: If you’re a vegetarian, or even if you’re not, it’s hard not to appreciate the array of choices on the vegetable-combo platter ($13). It comes with intricately seasoned split lentils, split yellow peas, whole lentils, cabbage, collards and fosolia, a spiced green bean and carrot stew, all on a slab of injera with extra bread for serving.

What to skip: Minchet abish, a dish of ground beef braised in a spicy ginger and garlic sauce, with sides of house-made cottage cheese and injera ($12.5), was unappetizing on the plate and heavy on the palate.

The setting: Dark colors and clubby mood lighting make for a stylish hangout.

Summing up: Minchet abish ($12.50), a vegetable combo ($13), a glass of Ethiopian honey wine ($7) and a glass of the house white ($6) came to $40.92 plus tax and tip.

Tyrone Beason: tbeason@seattletimes.com



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