Restaurant Review: It’s an Ethiopian utopia at Rochester’s Abyssinia

Deep in Rochester stands Abyssinia, an Ethiopian restaurant with a quiet yet pleasant atmosphere where patrons are introduced to unique foods from a faraway culture.

It may be confusing to figure out how to order based on a first glance at the menu, but don't freak out if the language appears unfamiliar.

Start with an appetizer: tomato salad, for example. With the speedy service, customers' taste buds get some satisfaction before the meal begins. This starter is served with tomatoes, onions and green peppers on one large ‘injera,' a yeast-risen flatbread with a spongy texture made from teff flour. The injera is meant to be ripped and eaten with the vegetables, but personally, I like to wrap it around the tomato like a pita.

In Ethiopia, family members eat on the same tray without utensils, and so the restaurant chooses to emphasize this cultural tradition. So yes, hands should be washed before coming to dinner as there will be no silverware provided.

For a delectable, sweet-tasting beverage, try the ‘Tej.' The exquisite taste of this Ethiopian honey wine keeps customers coming back for more. Be sure, however, to sip it slowly in order savor the unique taste.

Dining with two or more people is advantageous when it comes to Abyssinia. "Combination meals" allow hungry customers to get a variety of different tastes. A combination meal is designed for the number of diners per table at a reasonable price. For two people, a combination meal would come to a total of approximately $20; for three people, $30; and so on.

There are different combinations to order for this specific style on the menu. Not sure which would be the safest platter? Try Combination No. 1, which includes Doro We't (spicy chicken cooked in a Berber sauce with a hard-boiled egg), Yebeg Key We't (spicy lamb cooked with red pepper), Alicha Fitfit (beef mixed with injera) and Gomen (collard greens sautéed with onions and peppers). Rolls of injera are also served on the side to eat with the meals.

Abyssinia provides a new experience for those who want to explore the food of a different culture, try something new and most of all, satisfy a hunger!