IMG_8844When it comes to Ethiopian food, we’re just starting to learn about everything that DC’s countless options have to offer.  For a long time, Mike let a bad experience keep him away from an entire cuisine.  But a visit to Etete several months ago convinced him that not all Ethiopian food was out to get him, so we decided to check out Dukem before the Air Guitar National Championships at the 9:30 Club last month.

Why Dukem?  After Etete, it was the most recommended of the Ethiopian restaurants along 9th and U Streets…we figured all those folks couldn’t be too wrong.  Besides – we had Techie Jim visiting us from Kansas City, and we wanted to show him one of DC’s most noteworthy cuisines.

IMG_8841Dukem is described as one of the more “put together” Ethiopian places in Washington, combining a sleek interior with above-average service and a traditional menu that runs the gamut from wat to tibs to kitfo.  We’ve only got the one previous experience to compare it to, but the descriptions of the dishes and the server’s enthusiastic recommendations definitely helped us to figure out which dishes best represented Dukem’s cuisine.

The whole kitfo and caboodle after the jump. (more…)

Ring the bell, if you can find it. It’s about three feet to the left of Marvin’s front door and barely marked. Try turning img_6579the handle if no one is outside. The rule of thumb is if the door is unlocked, they have room for walk-ins. If it’s locked, they do not. You can try getting on the guest list…but good luck.

Gibson opened less than a year ago and has remained relatively under the radar since then. Like PX and the short-lived but wonderful Hummingbird to Mars, Gibson continues the DC cocktail trend of faux speakeasy bars. Typically this means chic, luxurious interior and the most superior cocktails to be found in the area. It also means no crowds, some type of code of conduct, and patience. Patience to get in and patience to receive your drinks once you place an order.

At Gibson, like PX, there is no standing room at the bar. Gibson can accomodate no more than 50 people at a time. Seats are given according to reservation at specific intervals with some room held for walk-ins (allegedly). On several occasions when Mike and I have found ourselves in the U St area for the night we’ve strolled by the front door to check on empty space. More often than not, a dapperly dressed man with a clipboard and knit fingerless gloves (“very Dickensian,” Babe-B-Q points out) would put us on the waiting list and promise to text us when they had availability. The night went on, the text never came.

Finally, I made a reservation about two weeks in advance. What a difference advance planning makes. The woman on the other end of the phone took my name and phone number and asked what time we would prefer.  We arrive about 20 minutes before our reservation and “I’m sorry, your table isn’t ready yet.” No problem, we skip over to Ben’s Next Door for a quick drink. We swing back five minutes after our reservation. “Absolutely, welcome.” We are in!

Drinks and our experience inside after the jump. (more…)