Another comparatively pricey dish, the Sangaa Akaawii ($9.95)--beef cubes described as "tender" and "braised"--was essentially a salad of dry and incredibly tough cubes of beef and fresh jalapeño slices. In contrast, the Maraka Lukuu ($7.75), a dish of chicken on the bone served in a thick, rich sauce of tomato and niter kebbeh (a strongly spiced butter), was delicious, deeply flavored, tender, and luscious. All entrées at the Blue Nile come with two vegetable side dishes, yogurt, an earthy hot sauce, and a side basket of injera. Your goal is to use the injera as a utensil so that your fingers neither touch the stews nor your mouth. Up the ante by feeding your companions bites of food without touching their mouths--it's both a symbol of your regard for them and a test of your finger skills.

Kristine Heykants

Location Info

Map

Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant

2027 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

The Blue Nile often features live music, and the atmosphere can get hopping. The waitresses on my visits were very good-natured--one wouldn't let me order an extra appetizer because it would ruin my appetite--if amateurish: Another couldn't answer a single question about anything on the menu, even after heading to the kitchen for answers. Servers do leave full carafes of water on the table, which I appreciate, and once you embrace the no-frills/good-lentils ethos of the place, the lack of fine-dining perks might just seem that much more charming. Sometimes a very, very old-fashioned meal based on ancient grains is the perfect counterpoint to an electricity-soaked life.

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