Blue Nile offers Ethiopian vegan, vegetarian fare

Blue Nile is an Ethiopian restaurant that specializes in vegan and vegetarian food, according to Makda Abedo, who owns the restaurant with her mother, Tigis Bestr.

“We do serve some beef, lamb and fish,” she adds. A meat combo, a tasting platter of meats served at Blue Nile, is available for $13.99.

Asked to describe Ethiopian cuisine, Abedo replies, “Ours is a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and spices for seasoning.”

The menu lists 13 entrees. Injera, the flatbread with a slightly spongy texture that is the Ethiopian national dish, is served with every meal. Several of the dishes include awaze, a chili-pastelike seasoning made with pepper. The menu also uses the word “tibs” frequently. This is the Ethiopian word for fried meat, usually beef unless otherwise specified.

Coffee beans are roasted in-house and among the soft drinks and alcohol is Ethiopian beer.

“We are not a dessert culture, so we don’t serve dessert,” Abedo notes.

Open from 1 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, Blue Nile, 4180 W. Desert Inn Road, can seat as many as 70 people. Parties of six or more people are asked to call ahead. The restaurant is decorated in green, yellow and red – the colors of the Ethiopian flag – with original arts and textiles.

Here is a sampling of the menu.

Tibs dishes: zilzil tibs, beef marinated in awaze sauce, garlic and onions; tibs firfir, beef tips pan grilled with onions and tomato with injer; derek tibs, dry cooked beef sauteed in purified butter, onion and green pepper; yebeg awaze tibs: lamb sauteed in purified butter and seasoned with onions, green pepper and awaze sauce ($9.99 each)

Other dishes: fish goulash, cubed fresh catfish marinated in house spices, then sauteed with olive oil, onion, tomato, pepper and a touch of garlic ($9.99); vegetarian combo, lentils, onions, green pepper, collard greens, cooked curried cabbage, potatoes and carrots ($9.99); spaghetti with choice of meat or vegetarian sauce ($9.99); shiro, ground chickpeas simmered in a rich house sauce with butter ($7.99); kitfo, lean chopped beef minced, blended and seasoned in hot spice, available with meat raw, medium or well done ($10.99); gored gored, coarsely chopped extra lean beef lightly sauteed with mitmita, an Ethiopian hot sauce ($10.99)

Information: 485-1158

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