Etete has won the value eats category from some source every year it’s been open, and there is good reason for this. Inside, the place is upscale and trendy and the food is cooked by someone’s mom. “Etete” is a colloquialism for mother in Ethiopia, and the restaurant was purchased as a surprise gift to their mom (who already had a reputation in DC’s Ethiopian community as a fine chef from her catering business). To help the success of the business, Yared (son and co-owner) goes to Ethiopia twice a year and brings back sixteen suitcases of spices direct from the source. If that’s not authenticity, I don’t know what is.
Erik, Scott, and Ania waste no time poking fun at our generation’s view of Ethiopia of flies and distended stomachs. It’s nice to sit in a restaurant, gorging myself on the twelfth meal of the day, not pausing to wonder why I was born a white male to a middle-class family in America and not to a farmer in Ethiopia. Looking back today at kids my age that didn’t make it to see six years old, I just have to thank God for what I am blessed with. Even though countless millions are still starving somewhere else, it’s acceptable for us to have a laugh at their expense. Oh well. When in Rome . . .
We didn’t know what we were in for when we headed to Zaytinya.