Sunday, February 14, 2010

Restaurant review: Red Sea Cafe

Communal dining at the Red Sea Cafe.

East Vancouver has an odd concentration of Ethiopian restaurants. There are two in two blocks on Commercial Drive (Harare and the Addis Cafe), both of which I've enjoyed. Now further west in Mt. Pleasant, we've still got a few options, as there are two more in two blocks near Fraser and Broadway, an intersection that conjures up images of dirty East Van but has been slowly undergoing some revitalization. Fassil is just east, and the Red Sea Cafe is just west. A brief exchange at On The Bone led me to seek out Red Sea, and while it wasn't spectacular, it was enjoyable.

For those of you that haven't tried Ethiopian or Eritrean cuisine, I highly recommend the experience. It's simple, communal eating, with vegie or meat dishes piled on top of injera, a sourdough crepe-like bread. You rip off a piece of injera, uses it to scoop up some food, and pop it into your mouth.

All the food is rich and creamy. The vegie dishes are some legume in a butter and spice sauce, the meat dishes a bit more oily and spicy. It's hard to know what the flavours are; ginger, chili, garlic, others. Red Sea is nearly identical to Harare and Addis. The vegie dishes are a little less exciting, but the meat dishes were more tasty. Nothing surprised, though we didn't try the raw meat dishes. For $30-35, the vegie/meat combo for three was quite filling (two meat and three vegie dishes on a huge plate of injera with extra injera on the side).

Fassil's menu looks a little more enticing: I really want to know what the white food is, because I haven't seen it at the other three:

The crepe-like injera is slightly sour, nicely chewy, and a perfect utensil.

Red Sea Cafe
670 East Broadway at Fraser

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