|Fast facts:||Gosh Ethiopian Restaurant|
|Price range:||$8 to $12, with a couple of platters costing more|
|Summary:||Authentic Ethiopian cuisine, served family-style.|
|Address:||3609 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville TN 37919 Map|
It's probably a safe bet that many native Knoxvillians have never had an opportunity to sample Ethiopian cuisine. We're fortunate to have a genuine Ethiopian place on Sutherland, right next to Holy Land Market.
Gosh offers a number of compelling vegetarian dishes, as well as lamb, poultry, and beef. Since I'm an avowed carnivore, it shocks me a little to state that the vegetarian dishes at Gosh were the highlight of the meal. They were among the best vegetarian fare I've had in Knoxville since Tjaarda closed.
My companion and I started with vegetarian sambbussas: flaky pastries stuffed with lentils, garlic, jalapeños, onions, and herbs, and served with a slightly spicy sauce almost like a marmalade. These were exquisite; we agreed that we would have been happy with a meal of about a dozen of these.
For the main course, we ordered two entrées: one was kitfo, which is extremely lean ground beef combined with hot chili pepper and seasoned butter. It can be ordered raw or lightly cooked (ours was cooked). Our second entrée was yemisir wot, a spiced dish of red lentils.
The entrées are served on a single platter, meant to be shared family-style. Ours were accompanied by sides of corn and seasoned lettuce, with a basket of injera, a spongy flat bread which is used to scoop up the delicacies on the tray. There is no silverware, and there are no plates. You're supposed to enjoy the intense flavors of the dishes with the injera acting as a spice delivery mechanism. When the basket of injera is empty, there's another layer of it underneath the entrées on the platter. It's a little messy but totally worth it.
The kitfo and the yemisir wot were both a little spicy, but not too hot. Diners wishing to kick up the heat are given chili powder and chili paste on the side, both of which were pretty hot. The chili paste reminded me a little of Vietnamese sriracha sauce: a little smoky, kind of tart, and somewhat herbal. Both the kitfo and the yemisir wot were surprisingly delicate and refined in their seasonings, but I think we both preferred the yemisir (the red lentil dish). It had a delicacy and subtlety to its texture and seasonings that surprised both of us.
Another delicacy at Gosh is the spiced tea (kemem shay), which can be ordered hot or iced. We tried it both ways, and both were excellent. We agreed that one could make a nice meal of the tea and the vegetarian sambbussas.See all NoshViews reviews...
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