One of the best meals I had this year was at a restaurant you probably haven't heard about. It's a new restaurant. It opened beyond quietly with no fanfare on Avenue B between 11th and 12th Streets in the East Village. And the cuisine, happens to be Ethiopian. A cuisine I rarely consume. In fact, the last, and only other time I ate Ethiopian food was in the year 2000. Well, after one meal at Haile, that shall change. The flavors and food I ate a few weeks ago blew me away. It was magical culinary adventure. An adventure that whisked me away from NYC for an hour, and brought me to Ethiopia. I was there in Africa scooping up vegetables with such powerful flavor.
You don't use utensils here, you eat with that sponge-like bread injera. We ordered the Vegetable Combination, which for $15 you get a choice of five vegetarian dishes. Fresh Collard greens with onion, garlic, and pepper. Sauteed string beans and carrots seasoned in a spicy garlic sauce. Red beets come with carrots and potatoes, sauteed with onions and garlic. Red lentils stew cooked in onion, spices and berbere. Chickpea sauce flavored with onions, herbs and spices. All these vegetables were sublime, amazing, and truly magical. Such powerful flavor, it almost turned me vegetarian instantly. Of course, daddy loves his meat. So I tried Haile's fabulous Lamb sauteed in onion, jalapeño, and spiced butter. It melted in my mouth. All was good in the world. Pure Joy.
I love discovering undiscovered culinary gems. Haile Ethiopian Cuisine is a gem. I can say it's the best Ethiopian restaurant in NYC. I haven't been to all of them, but it seems impossible to be better than what I consumed at Haile. True culinary magic.
182 Avenue B (bet. 11th and 12th)
New York, NY 10009