Where Angels Eat!
We have been asked often about our restaurant’s name, Ghenet. Ghenet means heaven or highest paradise. As angels are in heaven, it inspires us, and we adopted the phrase “where angels eat.”
Ghenet is an Ethiopian restaurant that serves delectable delicacies made with authentic Ethiopian spices and served with love. The story behind the establishment of Ghenet is interesting and inspired by Ephrem’s (founder) experience of living and traveling.
Yeworkwoha Ephrem (founder) was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The place, with its diversity, exposed her to an assortment of culinary techniques and flavors. Ephrem often says that she wants to offer Ethiopia to her customers, representing her restaurant as a hybrid of the culture, language, art, and authentic flavors. Her native place inspired her. She has visited the four corners of the world- lived in the Middle East, traveled in Asia, Europe, and South America, which adds to her experience, inspiration, and artistry. Ephrem moved to New York City in the late ’70s and established Ghenet in SOHO in February 1998 (now closed). The second location in Brooklyn opened in 2007. Ghenet is a story of Ephrem’s native place, traveling days, and how she celebrated the flavors of New York by discovering the spice markets in little India, meat market that used to be on the West Side, Veniero’s for pastries, Katz for pastrami, and running to Astoria for authentic Gyros.
Twenty years later, we are still dedicated to serving the NY/NJ area the best Ethiopian food.
It is distinctive, befitting a beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage and amazing people. At Ghenet, we serve authentic Ethiopian delicacies enriched with carefully selected herbs and spices.
Spices and herbs are at the heart and soul of Ethiopian cooking. The presence of Berbere- an amalgamation of chili spices and herbs- used in dishes made from beef, lamb, poultry, fish, lentils, and split peas, gives sauces the name of Wett makes you crave for more. While Aletcha is a treat to your taste buds, it belongs to a dish made with most of the ingredients and the addition of fresh garlic, ginger, and turmeric but without the Berbere. To prepare these dishes, especially meat and poultry dishes, we use Nitir Kibe (clarified spiced butter), and vegetarian dishes are made with oil (from vegetable or oilseed) to comply with religious dietary laws.
These complex flavors manage to coexist and collaborate to delight and satisfy the palate.
Ghenet’s Ethiopian cuisine offers an exceptional variety of non-vegetarian, vegetarian, and vegan dishes starting from a staple dish Shiro (a sauce made from legumes and a blend of herbs and spices) to the complex and intriguing Doro Wett or Doro Aletcha (chicken stews).
At Ghenet, we strive to control the nature of the spices and herbs used, retaining the familiar ingredients while cautiously balancing the amount of each.
It is a staple food; Injera is a pancake-like flatbread made of teff (a gluten-free fine grain unique to Ethiopia). It is a part of every main Ethiopian meal, as its flavors compliment every dish. It can be used as a serving platter.
Berbere is a wonderful spice mixture that dominates the culinary landscape. Berbere includes red chili powder, coriander, basil, carom seeds that have been marinated, fused, and seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, and numerous varieties of herbs and spices.
An intricate mild sauce made from garlic, ginger, and ird, and often served with meat, legumes, or beans. It is comfort food and available in various varieties like Shiro Aletcha, Siga Aletcha, and the Aterkek Aletcha.
Another powdered seasoning mix, Mitmita, is a commonly used spice in Ethiopian cuisine. It is widely known as Bird’s Eye red pepper, spiced with cardamom and salt, usually served with kitfo.
Ethiopian cuisine is incomplete without this ingredient. Nitir Kibe is clarified butter that is a primary ingredient used to season several condiments and traditional delicacies.
Key Wett is an incredible palate satiating flavored sauce prepared with berbere, nitir kibe, meat, fish, or kitfo. It is also served with a boiled egg on top. This spicy stew is a traditional dish best served with Injera.