Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant

Twin Cities, Minnesota


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The service was great. We split a vegetarians platter for one and the two of us were stuffed by the time we left. Can't imagine how big the platter for 2 must be. The flavors are distinct from the other Ethiopian places I've been to in the Twin Cities - most dishes are sweeter or more simply spiced than others I've had.

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I thought the vegetarian platter here was the best I've tried (I've tried the Red Sea Club and Kilimanjaro). I came here with a large group and the service was a little slow but they did have everything set up for us before we arrived since we had reservations.

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Dashen's yemisir wot (red lentils in berbere sauce) is the best that I've had anywhere. It has a lot of flavor, but it isn't overwhelmingly spicy. Other selections are fair to pretty good.

I'd recommend the yemisir wot, or especially the vegetarian combo platter, which has all of their veggie selections, to anyone new to Dashen. The combo platter is enough food for two people (unless you're really hungry), which is another plus, in terms of price as well as the fun of sharing a good meal. I believe that all of their vegetarian meals are vegan, given the Ethiopian rules for fasting.

Drink prices are also quite reasonable. As of this review, most import bottles are around $3.50-4.00, and tap beer (Sam Adams (?) or Guinness, for example) is about $4.00 for a 20-ounce mug.

I also enjoy the casual atmosphere and the variety of live music that might be playing on a given weeknight. It's also a plus that they've donated food to at least one CAA potluck.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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I thought the food here was incredibly bland. One of the dishes we ordered (the veg one with yellow split peas) tasted basically tasted like yellow paste with a little salt. I'd recommend Kilimanjaro or Fasika instead.

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The food here was really delicious. The sambusas were the highlight. However, I was disappointed that despite the fact that they have a full huge bar, (and a special martini menu!) the staff did not know how to make a dirty (vodka) martini. Mine arrived in a rocks glass with ice. Then they brought it "up" in a martini glass (still filled with ice). After the final correction, it was a drinkable martini but barely worth all the effort. Anyway, don't go for the martinis...just go for the food!
Also, I've purchased Dashen's sambusas at Mississippi Market in St. Paul. Yum.

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