On Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Art at University and Snelling in St Paul to help him out. On our way to our destination I saw Fasika and mentioned that I had never tried Ethiopian before. Art, nodding sideways at the restaurant, said that it was one of his favorites and has eaten there several times before and asked if I wanted to try some tonight. I believe something like, “Fuck yes!” was my reply.
So we arrived around dinner time and found several of the clear plastic covered tables, which made me feel like we were eating in one of my grandmother’s bedrooms, filled with a diverse group of people eager to get their hands dirty–literally. Surprising to me, but obviously not Art, you typically eat Ethiopian with your hands. They provide a pliable, soft, stretchy strong bread called Injera which looks like a crepe but with spongy holes on one side. You break off pieces of this bread (which comes out looking almost like a chamois folded in quarters) and scoop your food from your plate. While I’m not normally one for this type of adventure after recently finishing 20 Ghost Wings in 8 minutes with sauce all over my face, hands, and clothes my aversion to getting my hands filthy while I eat was out the window this week.
Art ordered coffee to drink and while I no longer drink it myself, I must admit that I still find the smell intoxicating. This particular cup, strong according to Art, smelled fantastic and brought me back years to my days as a dumbass kid drinking gallons of the stuff alongside two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts after practices in the summer. As the smell of the coffee faded, the warming scents coming from the other tables began wafting my way. Reminiscent of many of the Indian restaurants we’ve been to, this was much stronger and was calling to me far more than anything I’ve ever had before. By the time our platter arrived I was almost foaming at the mouth.
We ordered a combination of beef, lamb, chicken, and vegetables which was priced at $32 (their online menu is way out of date as it lists the same dish for $26.25). The platter arrived and while the picture does it absolutely no justice, it was fucking huge. Think like 1/3 of a table for four huge or, if you’re familiar, the Feast for Two at Famous Daves–but with more food. Thirteen+ items of stewed goodness. Everything from beets to salad to the most amazing lamb and a stewed hard-boiled egg with an incredible flavor that I cannot even describe. It was all served on top of some of the Injera bread which I ended up having to decimate after I ran out of the additional bread they served us. Only after we got down to the nitty gritty, and my stomach was already too full to shove much more in, did I pull out a fork and start digging through more to see what little morsels I could find.
This is definitely something that I recommend for groups of three or four. I ate way too much and I seriously did not even want to eat lunch the next day. The service was phenomenal, the meal was some of the best ethnic food I have ever had and it was another place where I wanted to go back and eat more as soon as we were out the door and driving home–much like when we tried Everest on Grand.
Have you ever eaten at Fasika in St Paul? If so, what did you think? Do you have any other recommendations that you’d like to give on specific dishes to try at Fasika? Have you eaten Ethiopian before elsewhere? If so where? Whatever you have to say about Fasika in St Paul go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you think!
Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
510 Snelling Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104-2329
Vegetarian and vegan options available:
See all the pictures (all two of them) on Flickr here.