As mentioned previously, Boston's Hidden Restaurants features more than a few offbeat, unusual restaurants, including Emma's Pub and Pizza in Bridgewater, the Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT, and Dok Bua in Brookline. But Fasika, an Ethiopian restaurant in East Somerville, might just take the cake; imagine a dining spot that has a mellow, laid back dining room with traditional Ethiopian basket tables on the left, and a loud, somewhat out of control working-class dive bar on the right, and that's what you have with this improbably weird restaurant on Broadway near the Charlestown border.
Even though the atmosphere at Fasika is rather different (or at least half of it is different) from Addis Red Sea, a well-liked and popular Ethiopian restaurant with locations in Cambridge and Boston's South End, the menu has many similarities, including kitfo (minced spicy lean beef in butter sauce), yebeg alicha (lamb in turmeric sauce), and gomen wot (collard green sauteed with garlic and onions). Other items on the menu include a wonderfully flavorful minchet abish key (chopped prime beef sauteed in a spicy berbere sauce) and a tasty, mild yekik alicha (split yellow peas in a mild garlic ginger sauce), which is a good dish for those who don't like spicy entrees. Entrees come with pieces of unleavened bread which are used in place of utensils (spoons, forks, and knives aren't generally used in Ethiopian restaurants). Appetizers at Fasika include spicy, though somewhat greasy beef sambosas (ground beef with mild spices inside a fried dough shell), as well as ayeb begomen (homemade cottage cheese with collared greens, herbs, and spices) and a traditional Ethiopian salad. A variety of beer and wine can be ordered here, including an unusual honey wine that has a sweet, pleasant taste to it.
The food at Fasika is very satisfying, though some people might be turned off by the roughhousing going on at the bar across the room, while others may simply be a bit hesitant to try such unusual dishes. But if you like exotic food and don't mind hearing Led Zeppelin blasting from the jukebox while you dine on split yellow peas or cubed lamb, Fasika is bound to be a memorable experience for you.
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