The scent of cooked spices floats through the flooded parking lot outside of Ibex Ethiopian Kitchen on Baymeadows Road. Hay colored woven baskets sit below a grass covered table on a short stage ready for the next aromatic Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
There is no hostess station waiting for customers inside. Instead, bright Ethiopian music and conversational cooks wait for you to grab their attention.
The dining room features untraditional booths. Lightly cushioned benches are not attached to the seat backs as they are in many restaurants, making them as comfortable as a dining room chair. Because the benches are not very wide, feel free to scoot them up to a comfortable position.
Being the uncultured student I am, I had no idea how to eat Ethiopian food. I had to ask what the proper way to eat is for the first time in my adult life. Because the service was slow in the early evening, one of the two waitresses was able to give me a quick tutorial: unroll the spongy flatbread, tear off a sliver, place it over the desired food and pinch the food inside the injera (spongy flatbread) until you have as much as you want.
The Ibex vegetarian platter looks like an appetizer because it features a little bit of every vegetarian item, but it is just as filling as regular entrees because of its starchy foods. I found myself filling the injera with mostly yellow split peas and creamy lentils to keep my stomach from reacting to this new food.
Ospreys won’t find an updated menu online, but most items range from $8 to $15. I paid $13 for the vegetarian platter, which is big enough for two hungry diners.
Picky eaters and Ospreys with sensitive stomachs may want to stick to their favorite foods until their stomachs are in the mood for something new. But for those with a craving for something other than burgers and pizza, give Ibex Ethiopian Kitchen a shot — the eating process is a new experience in itself.
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