6120 N Broadway St
Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
The Victims: Many
The Damage: $25
The Background: Ethiopian Diamond is one of those places I’ve been dying to try since moving back to Chicago. I’ve always loved Ethiopian food and I was looking forward–if you can believe it–to heading so far north for a change.
Now if only it weren’t so freaking cold. Like really cold. Like take-a-taxi-cold because I couldn’t deal with walking to the bus stop and waiting for the bus to get me to the El.
The great thing about Ethiopian food is that there aren’t that many pictures because a lot of it is served together. (Sorry…have been doing this too long.) To start, we had sambusas, which are like samosas but different. (The shells seem crispier somehow.) Two different types: minced meat and spinach. I think I preferred the spinach, but neither, unfortunately, were very good. I mean, they were good in a “I’m hungry so give me something to eat as soon as possible” kind of way, but they weren’t much better than that.
This probably isn’t the most flattering picture I’ve taken of food now, is it? That’s the beef upfront (good, but not memorable, cooked in the mysteriously named “Diamond Sauce”) and that’s the lamb at 10 pm. The lamb was GREAT. Spicy with a deep, rich flavor. I gladly polished this off. Less satisfying dishes included the chicken–which was just so very bland–and the equally bland cabbage and carrots. The lentils were good but served in such a tiny portion there wasn’t enough to come to a conclusion and I was left fighting my fellow diners for my fair share. On the second platter we shared (not pictured), there were some collard greens in a “mild sauce” that were quite nice and, well, mild, but again not enough to go around. Strange given that we received so much meat! But maybe I was just hungry. It’s also possible that I was talking too much and my tablemates got to the food before I did.
Last up was dessert…pastry shells stuffed with dried red and white raisins, pistachios, split almonds, shredded coconut and cardamom powder. Although I am a sucker for cardamon, the problem here was the pastry. Have you ever had those crunchy noodles in Chinese restaurants? That’s what this tasted of. I was confused. This was not a Chinese restaurant but an Ethiopian one…
The Verdict: I wanted to love Ethiopian Diamond. But I didn’t. Strangely, I feel like it still deserves a second chance. I’d get the lamb again. And more lentils. And more vegetables. Oh, I’d also make sure to sit close to a space heater because the night we were there, it was FREEZING. (I believe this was a temporary glitch. But still. Freezing! Who wants to eat with their coat on?)