So I'm realizing that plate to the left doesn't look all that spectacular and amazing - but let me tell you - IT IS! (click on the pic to see the full range of decadence!)

I live in Pleasant Ridge and we are an eclectic little portion of Cincinnati. We've got Molly Malones (irish yumminess), PRC (chili - oh man) and the Ridge Donut Shop (the best donuts in the city) - as well as lots of other fun things...but we were kind of lacking something...

Well not any more!

On the corner of Ridge & Losantiville used to be a huge blue building that housed #1 Hip Hop Fashion. While I didn't frequent the store - it was a great landmark for my friends to navigate by. About a year ago #1 Hip Hop went away :-( and a sign appeared that advertised emanu - a soon-to-come Ethiopian restaurant. What the heck is Ethiopian food????? Well, turns out they had a place open a block away but decided to close that and relocate to a larger, nicer space. And I'm so glad they did!

I spoke with Sammy (the son - it's a family restaurant) and he was saying that they didn't think it would take as long as it did to open Emanu...(the sign said coming Dec 2007 - it just opened in July 2008). But wow - it was worth the wait!

Okay - enough history - on to the good stuff...

Sammy recommended we order family-style. There were 4 of us - so we should get 3 dishes. We started out with sambussas - basically like a samosa at an Indian restaurant. We tried one of each (beef & veggie). If you like spicy - get the veggie - it's full of lentils and awesomeness.

For the main dishes, we chose:

Tesbhi Derho (Doro-Watt)

Tender marinated chicken sauteed in lemon, stewed in a red pepper sauce with onions, garlic, ginger root and a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg.

Hiwswas (Beyaynetu)

A combination of Yemisir-Watt, Gomen, cooked chopped collaged greens and cabbage. (Tekel Gomen)

Kilwa Sega (Sega-Tibs)

Strips of marinated beef sauteed with onions, green pepper and spices.

They serve family style - starting clockwise with the red dish is the chicken, then the steak and then the veggies (red lentils, cabbage, collard greens, carrots/green beans and yellow lentils). The prices on the website are a little off - each dish was about $13 - still a deal for the quality of the food.

The other item to note is the bread - injera - you can read about it on their "About Us" page. When served, it resembles a rolled up "hot towel" like you'd get on a plane. Tradition says that you tear the bread off and eat the food with your hands. It's sort of a cross between a crepe and a pancake - not a lot of flavor but the perfect accompaniment to the food.

Now to the dishes - the chicken was my favorite - it's spicy and delicious. It is bone-in chicken - so you have to cut it off the bone before you dig in. You definitely need to order a veggie dish so that you have some veggies - which they let you know - so don't worry about forgetting. I highly recommend the combo - that way you can try everything!

We also ended the night with dessert - I'm not a coffee drinker - but my friends got that - it's thick and will keep you up a while from the look of it! :-) I had the cheesecake - WOW! It had goat cheese, mascarpone, cream cheese and HONEY! It was sooooooo good! Everybody had some and everybody raved about it! We also got baklava - which was good - but not near as amazing as the cheesecake!

Side note - it's BYOB - for now...

The food was extremely tasty - the service was great and I can't wait to go back! I am already craving the chicken and lentils again!

So everybody out there in the blogosphere - head over to tha' P-Ridge and try Emanu!!!!! I'm easily going with 3.5 stars!!! It's my new favorite place!

Just to reiterate how much we loved the food...here's what was left! SCRAPS OF NOTHIN!