Wednesday, September 15, 2010

#3 Eat at Mesob

Eating is by far one of the best things to do in the Garden State. Restaurant choices, culinary fusions, and recipes from the “old country” just might be the only benefits to New Jersey’s overpopulation. A NJ friend of mine, married a girl from Michigan, moved to Virginia, and now sadly concedes the only decent Italian place by him is the Macaroni Grille 30 miles away. How do people live like that? It’s tragic. Where can I donate?

With that said, this blog is about doing things and not a restaurant guide. Few will make the list, and those that do must fill the requirements of having great food and presenting diners with a unique experience. Hence, the grounds for talking about Mesob in Montclair, NJ.

Bloomfield Ave. itself is the first reason so make the extra time to spend the day or extended evening. (Though Bloomfield Ave. is long so please make sure you’re in the right town before you get shot.) Antique shops, a rock show at the Wellmont, an indie flick at the Claridge, and Diane’s all time favorite over priced store Anthropologie, are all a short walk. Combine that with literally countless restaurants from practically every culture, and you’ll probably want to frequent the area. But let’s not jump ahead, first you will be dining at Mesob.

“The plate looks like dog food”, is a comment floating on Facebook somewhere. While showing some out-of town friends a good time at this Ethiopian gem, a mobile upload of the plate was posted, and the misguided comment was made. Obviously the feedback was off the mark, though I can understand. Ethiopian food is not typically spotted on the cover of a food magazine and Rachel Ray isn’t wasting a half hour of your life about it. Considering all I heard my entire childhood was about people starving in Ethiopia, some might be amazed they even have restaurants.

Perhaps you notice the phrase “our plate”. Mesob is a great date or couples restaurant. Diane was lucky enough to meet this young chap here on our first date and I’m pretty sure it’s why she thought I was an intelligent and exotic man. Groups of 2 and 4 work the best because you will ALL be eating the same food from the same plate, and yes, with your hands! OK, if you’re Howie Mandel and no longer interested in eating here then you’re an idiot (though I do suggest choosing your guests carefully). Essentially, various meats and vegetables will be arranged on a piece of spongy bread (Injera)---think of a large pancake, though it won’t taste like that. Then each person will tear off bits of Injera to pinch/grab the food they want. If you’re not stuffed after eating the small, yet filling, mounds of food on your platter, then the best part is consuming the large Injera served as the bottom of your plate that has soaked up all of the delicious sauces and juices from the rest of your meal.

Mesob is BYOB so I suggest bringing a nice red wine, as your meats will be spicy beef or lamb. They do have chicken and going vegetaian is delicious, so a white wine can work as well. I certainly do not want to tell anyone what to order, but if you have never been there before, ORDER THE BUTCHA. Actually, every time you go there or even just walk by the place, ORDER THE BUTCHA. Below is my suggested order for a couple or double date party. *Beware: Some menu items are for spicy-food lovers*

Meats: Lega Tibs (Lamb)
Minchet Abish Key Wat (Beef)

Sides: Gomen (Collard Greens)
Di’fen Miser Aletcha (Lentils)
Dinche Wat (Potatoes)

And of course…………

BUTCHA (Chickpeas mixed with absolute goodness)



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