Friday, December 4, 2015

Desta: Vegan-Friendly Ethiopian in New Brunswick, NJ

Is New Brunswick, NJ experiencing a vegan renaissance? One would think. The newest addition is Desta Ethiopian Restaurant and, with it, the long-awaited return of Ethiopian Food to New Brunswick.


A quick recap: I was first introduced to Ethiopian Food at Makeda in the mid-nineties. It was like nothing I'd ever eaten before and I quickly fell in love with the spongy injera and flavorful vegetarian combo platter: eating it as often as possible when in the area. It wasn't until years later when vegans started noticing that the information parlayed with regard to the their vegan friendliness was sometimes contradictory that I branched out to Queen of Sheba, Mesob, Lalibela, and Bunna- finally settling on the best Ethiopian food of all: that from Teff Love. But sometimes a girl doesn't want to cook for herself. Enter, Desta.


I stopped in one day to ask if their vegetarian items were vegan and they assured me that they were. I returned soon after with a friend and fellow Ethiopian food lover and we each chose a veggie combo- your choice of five dishes from seven options*. According to the waitress, you can choose whether your food is cooked with nit'ir qibe (dairy) or olive oil.


Desta serves their injera folded like deflated fortune cookies.


We each made the same selections: 
misir wot: split lentils simmered with berbere, onions, and garlic.
gomen: fresh collard greens, spinach or kale made with onions, garlic, and ginger.
kik alicha: yellow split peas seasoned with garlic, ginger and turmeric.
azifa: whole brown lentils with onions, mustard, garlic, jalapenos, lemon juice, and olive oil (served cold).
dinich alicha: golden potatoes with carrots, garlic, ginger, fresh tomatoes, and spices.


There's still  a ton more I want to try: their vegan-friendly appetizers, as well as *the new additions: mushroom tibs, butecha, and shimbra assa wot... Who's coming with?

14 comments:

  1. Awesome! I'll have to go back next time i'm near Rutgers. I'll let you know when I'm coming so you can come too!!

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    Replies
    1. I live at Desta now. I'll be there when you go.

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  2. Take me! I'll go! This looks like a lovely place and delicious eats!

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  3. I think I only tried Ethiopian for the first time last year - where had it been all my life?! I could eat injera for all three meals a day and be very happy with my life choices.

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  4. I prefer the reviews where you tear em a new one like Bunna.

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    1. Those affect my blood pressure! And sometimes I do enjoy a nice experience ;-)

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  5. I wish I could go! It looks delicious!

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  6. Yum!!
    I found two great ethiopian spots uptown- abyssina (they even sell packages of their injera as well as teff flour) and zoma, which is slightly more "fancy". Both can nake any of the veg items vegan.
    Ttrockwood

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I've heard of zoma, but not the other. Good tips!

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