Tib Bits

Ethiopic Restaurant serves steak dinners without a fork and knife

When most of us think of Ethiopian food, we picture wats, those meat or vegetable stews mounded up on a large round of thin, spongy injera bread.

But any cuisine is more than its most famous dish. Let H St. newcomer Ethiopic introduce you to the lesser-known but zestier national dish, tibs.

To make its tibs–lamb and beef versions are house specialties–the kitchen sautés bite-size pieces of meat with garlic, jalapeño, tomato, onion and rosemary ($16). The aromatic, spicy result is like a full steak (or lamb) dinner that you eat with your fingers.

The kitchen doles out baskets of the distinctive injera to use instead of utensils, so diners rip off pieces as needed and pinch up each bite of meat.

Fish–which is traditionally prepared in place of meat during Ethiopia's two-month fasting period each spring–is available tibs-style year-round at the restaurant in addition to the meats. Pan-fried croaker ($12) is rubbed with chile and served whole, a mellower alternative to the spicy meats.

We suggest grabbing a table in one of the window alcoves, where food is served on tall Ethiopian baskets instead of standard dinner tables, for the full, authentic experience.

Ethiopic Restaurant, 401 H St. NE, at 4th St.; 202-675-2066 or ethiopicrestaurant.com