It's commonplace for a 3-year old to dig in to a plateful of food using only their hands. As for the rest of us, we tend to use knife and fork (and sometimes chopsticks). Not so at a venerable Louisville Ethopian restaurant where utensils come by request only.
Queen of Sheba has recently taken up residence in the former Mazzoni’s building on Taylorsville Road, across the street from Bowman Field. I never made it to the old location (on Bardstown Road just past the Watterson) and I’ve never been to any other Ethiopian restaurant so last Friday night was my first experience with Ethiopian cuisine. Going in I knew exactly three things about Ethiopian food. First, a good portion of it is vegan friendly as Queen of Sheba is among the very favorite Louisville restaurants for a couple different vegan friends of mine. Second, one of the primary components of an Ethiopian meal is a spongy bread called injera. Third, the traditional utensils for eating Ethiopian are injera and your hand. With that limited knowledge I dove into a leisurely relaxed vegan Ethiopian feast with friends that I enjoyed very much.
We order a variety of dishes which came served on one giant platter. One for all, all for one, everyone eat from the same big, big dish. Silverware is only brought by request but there are packaged moist towels on the table to clean your hands in before eating. One person in our party did go the silverware route but I decided to go for the full experience and eat with my hands. It was a little strange but a little fun at the same time. When was the last time you ate green beans with your hands?
The food was a mixture of vegetables, lentils, salad and injera. Dishes ranged from subtly spiced to hot like fire (our friends said they couldn't remember the dish ever being this hot before so perhaps just a little too much spice was thrown in when we were there). The injera was really good. I’d heard it described as being spongy or having a pancake like texture and that description proved to be accurate. I didn’t have any idea what to expect flavor wise though so I was a little surprised by how sourdough flavor it has. Sourdough isn’t quite the right description but it’s the best I can come up with.
Service during out meal was slow. Really slow. More slow than I normally like to deal with in restaurants but everyone else seemed to be going with the flow and not minding. I did my best but forgotten drink orders and never refilled glasses detract from my enjoyment of a meal out. So while I really enjoyed Queen of Sheba’s food I’ll have to save trips there for when I have a lot of time to spend at the restaurant and when I’m in the mood to be patiently thirsty.
Queen of Sheba
2804 Taylorsville Road