Though Ethiopian is now a common part of Atlanta's culinary quilt, most local restaurants featuring this African country's fare seem (at least to the novice) to all mesh together. The decor and menu items are similarly splayed onto a big bed of injera (the staple, flat, porous bread made from mixing teff cereal, flowers and yeast). One either loves how the pancake starchiness soaks up the earthy flavors of meat, boiled eggs, greens and spices or just finds it all messy and confusing to understand, much less navigate without fork, knife or atlas.
Both new explorers into Ethiopian cuisine and injera experts will find a safe haven in the exotic at Ledet, the restaurant that recently opened quietly, replacing a Thai eatery in Williamsburg Village Center on the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont.
Ethiopian Utopia: Ledet has an inviting atmosphere with clean, warm walls and a nook with white cushioned seating around round "teepee" tables for families or small groups to gather and share from communal plates. The restaurant, designed and owned by a family from Addis, displays handmade indigenous art depicting Ethiopian priests and ceremonial family food gatherings. A small center stage is set for musical groups to perform on weekends and late nights when the restaurant remains open until the wee hours and transforms into a bar/coffeehouse.
The service is warm and welcoming, although one new waitress seemed too nervous to answer even simple questions about ingredients and just encouraged me to get "not spicy" lamb. I guess I didn't look like I could handle much. The advertised breakfast and lunch buffets are not yet a reality and it took some time for dinner to be delivered. But the wait was worth it.
The vegetable sambusa, a fried, stuffed pocket of dough ($1) is the only apparent appetizer and worth ordering just to set the taste buds tingling. The vegetarian combo ($10.99) stands out – rather than featuring only mushed legumes that look like baby food and taste like fire, Ledet's mixture features various textures of colorful lentils, stewed cabbage and carrots, collards flecked with tofu, crispy salad, bright raw tomatoes, onions and a stuffed jalapeño. All are artfully arranged on a platter of injera speckled with just enough billowy bubbles. The combo is really enough for two. Only the jalapeño and misir (red lentils in berbere sauce) are particularly spicy.
The Ledet Combo features doro wot (chicken stew), salad, homemade cheese and vegetables, all mildly flavored if requested. More adventurous diners might want to sample one of the many variations of steak tartare, a house specialty. The raw, round steak kitfo is served either with purified and herbed butter sauce and chili powder or mixed with spinach or in sandwich form. Golden Tibs matches beef ribs with onions, peppers and spices. The owner is friendly and gracious and happy to serve more injera to lap it all up with.
God's Utensils: There's nothing better than dressing up, going out and scooping up spicy sauce, stewed mystery morsels and thin spongy bread with your fingers. Though it would be nice for the wait staff to gain more education and for the vegetarian buffet to come to pass, the restaurant is a pleasant newcomer that would make for the perfect intimate and inexpensive date, where a couple can share giggles and maybe practice gursha, the art of feeding each other by hand.
WOW, Cliff writes an article promoting a $9 crappy steak at a gay bar and…
Oh, this is sad.
Great, great food. I have been there 3 times. The smoked chicken wings rock. The…
NYE Party at Smoke Ring with Sweet Auburn String Band. Come hang!
Old ass thread, but I'll bite. I've eaten at many of Atlanta's most esteemed restaurants…