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Abol occupies a modest storefront along Colesville Road in Silver Spring, just across the street from the AFI Silver. Through the windows, you can see that the softly lit interior is more inviting than the average Ethiopian joint in D.C.—more Etete than, say, Awash. But it’s only after you grab a table and the food starts arriving that you realize how special Abol is. You’ll notice it before your first bite. The kitchen doesn’t just dump its stews and tibs and kitfo onto a large oval of injera and slap it down in front of you, as if it were just another trough of comestibles in which everything melds into one indiscriminate Ethiopian food wad. The cooks plate their dishes in elegant white bowls and trays, accompanied with a basket or two of rolled-up injera. Presentation, however, gets you only so far, a point well understood by the husband-and-wife team behind Abol. Their vegetarian platter includes not only the sweetest yefasolia you’ll ever taste but also something I’ve never seen before on Ethiopian menus: beets and potatoes sautéed in oil, garlic, and ginger, which are unbelievably good. The servers, to their credit, will even take you at your word when you say you prefer kitfo rare and hot. They’ll bring you a bowl of raw atomic beef that is, by no means, for the faint of heart.8626 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, (301) 650-0061
Next up: Addie’s (New American)