For one of our regular Friday lunches, Anish and I went to Desta Ethiopian with coworkers Anthony and Jaimyn. Desta is located in the same shopping center as Meskerem, at what I like to call Ethiopian Corner, the intersection of Briacliff and Clairmont, near I-85.
Adam and I have dined at Desta before, in the days before this blog, and I remembered it as being one of the less culturally distinct Ethiopian restaurants around. When I say that I mean that there are american-style tables, chairs, plates, knives, and forks, and that each person is served their own entree – no family-style. So, this seemed to me like the least scary ethiopian restaurant to take my hesitant work friends to.
Thankfully, it wasn’t so americanized that I could still order some I was still able to order some raw kitfo. I have certainly had kitfo I liked better (Maskerem), but this was still quite good and the single-person portion was more than ample. I left so stuffed. Perhaps I shouldn’t have ordered the gomen (collards) on the side, but again that instinct to have something green with every meal took over while I was ordering.
No one else at the table seemed over the moon for their food either, and Jaimyn was actually quite unhappy with his spaghetti (but I mean, he ordered spaghetti, y’know?). The place has rave reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp, though, so obviously we are in the minority!
Overall the meal was fine enough but I was reminded why Desta, though a totally fine restaurant, sits at the end of the list of favorite ethiopian restaurant that I’ve tried. I enjoy sharing a hearty platter of food with my family and friends, using injera and even doing it all while sitting around a mesob from time to time. This may be too much for some folks, and I understand that, so it is good that there are places like Desta to provide an intersection of ehtiopian and american cultures where people can take baby steps towards cultural immersion. Still, just not my favorite spot. 3 stars.
It’s so funny how time slides by – it was a year ago that we dined at Meskerem and I said I’d hope to follow up with more ethiopian restaurants very soon. So much for that, but it is still my goal to eat at all the ethiopian restaurants I can find. Love this cuisine! Let’s see if I can make it less than twelve months to the next one!
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
3086 Briarcliff Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329