Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till midnight, other nights till 11
The city's only Eritrean restaurant.
Eritrean food? Pretty much the same as Ethiopian, though some say it's less spicy and less greasy. And that—less spicy, not particularly greasy—is the MO at Rogers Park's Den Den, the city's only Eritrean restaurant. Here it's socially acceptable to eat spaghetti, a vestige of the country's colonial Italian past, with your hands. The raw beef kitfo is bland, but otherwise there's some decent stuff to be had: chunks of panfried whitefish in a spicy dark sauce (tsebh'i a'assa); the whole range of veggie offerings: okra, potato-carrot-cabbage trios, pulses like the chickpea shiro and the spicy red lentil tsebhi'i brsen, as well as a breakfast combo of diced beans and fresh ricotta cooked in the clarified butter niter kibbeh and served with bread or nicely tangy injera. The standout on the menu is the t'ibsi derho, bone-in chicken pieces cooked down in a blazing, thick, dark berbere curry with hard-cooked eggs that absorb its fiery magic. The room is red-lit and dark enough to process film in but roomy, and a nice place to put away the best thing going behind the bar. That's Den Den's house-made honey wine (known as mes rather than tej). Twenty-five bucks buys a sizable carafe of this yeasty sweet fermentation, which has a subtle bite. Read more >>
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