I’m familiar with Ethiopian food as that was the culture I selected for a Culinary Arts graduate project at NYU. To serve for my presentation, I made all the foods from scratch, including the spicy doro wot (the berbere-seasoned chicken stew considered the national dish) and the injera (the sour, springy Ethiopian teff-based flatbread). I was flabbergasted that all other students brought in takeout for their projects!

Knowing the cuisine, I was looking forward to a trip to Harlem’s Tison Cafe for their  Ethiopian and other Mediterranean foods. I tried their Kafa Martini, their version of the espresso martini. Although the menu described it as made with vodka, coffee and berbere (the Ethiopian spice blend), it was creamy. When I asked, I learned they had also added the Amarula cream liqueur.

We started with the malawach ($13.50), a flat crepe-like pancake made from phyllo that’s served topped with hard-cooked egg and with a sauce of jalapeños and grated tomatoes. This — like all Ethiopian foods — are eaten by hand. Also good are the filled samosas — one chicken,  lentil and one filled with collard greens along with a thin yogurt-based sauce for dipping.

Next was the main event: both our doro wat ($23) and the sega tibs ($26 sauced cubed filet mignon), came served on the large round of injera. To round out the entree, the rim of the flatbread contained all the vegetarian sides:  shiro (ground chicken peas), kik alicha (split peas), messer (red lentils),  gomen (collard greens), beets and atakilt (cabbage, carrots and potatoes).  We were also served a basket of rolled injera. To enjoy the dish, you just wrap the flatbread around some of the wot or veggies and pop into your mouth.  With that, we sampled a quite tasty Ethiopian Rift Valley Merlot ($11).

I’d recommend a trip to this cozy cafe in Harlem, especially if you’ve never enjoyed Ethiopian foods.  And, these, too, are made from scratch.

Tsion Cafe
763 Saint Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10031
(212) 234-2070
Tsion Cafe & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato