Mimi’s Ethiopian BBQ

Friday’s adventures brought me into parts unknown to me–across the river! That’s embarrassing and wrong, and I hereby set a personal goal to go there more. Mimi’s is newish and we were drawn to it because it promised an Ethiopian dish we’d never seen on a menu before: a grilled beef called zilzil.

The storefront was unassuming and you could drive right past it if not for expert phone navigation. The inside was simple, and the worker (perhaps Mimi herself?) was just bagging up my order when I walked in–perfect timing! The sad thing about going all the way to Anacostia for takeout is that we had to smell it for the whole drive home.

So, right off the bat, I have to mention that we ordered sambusa and a container of Mimi’s special sauce, which I was really excited to try, neither of which made it into our bag. It’s probably for the best, honestly, as hungry me made some poor ordering decisions that I probably would have regretted later. But I am not excited about paying for something that doesn’t show up and I am even less excited about being deprived of hot sauce.

We got two platters to share. The first one included a perennial favorite, awaze tibs, along with gomen (collards) and chickpeas. The tibs had a solid flavor but the texture was surprisingly chewy. Everything–everything–was underseasoned. It was a pretty sad start to the meal, actually; not bad, just blah. I added some salt but that tibs should be a spice bomb and it just wasn’t.

The second platter was similar, with one distinct difference. This one had the zilzil along with lentils and roasted veggies (aka yams). Same issues on most things–the yams cooked well but were flavorless. The lentils were slightly better and probably the winning side of the night. These are always a favorite of mine and were okay with a small sprinkle of salt.

The zilzil was actually incredible. I can see why Mimi chose to brand her restaurant as BBQ even though it’s the only BBQ dish on the menu. It was unique and had a great char flavor and impeccable texture. I only wish we had our side of Mimi’s special sauce to put on it. I would order this, and only this, again in a heartbeat.

Price: $15 per person

Bottom line: I won’t label Mimi’s a no-go because it was perfectly edible, but there is definitely room for improvement.

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