Ethiopian food has, unfortunately, not been a big thing in Brooklyn, despite a foodie culture that once cherished the city’s only Cambodian restaurant (now moved to Manhattan), at least two Chinatowns, and ethnic offerings from all corners of the globe.
So we were ecstatic when native Addis Ababan Hibist Legesse opened Bati on Fulton Street earlier this year. From the start, we were impressed by her commitment to authenticity (with genuine spices flown in from her homeland), and her attention to local sensitivies (her beef, lamb and poultry are all organic and there are even vegan items).
But the other day, we ordered up a plate of doro wett, the classic Ethiopian chicken stew, and were blown away by the thick, rich sauce and delectable meat just below its surface.
Though some would champion lamb, a chicken version of wett is the best way to highlight berbere, a shouldn’t-work-but-somehow-does combination of chili, basil, garlic, ginger, shallots, fenugreek, and cardamom that is as basic to Ethiopian cuisine as ketchup is to your backyard barbecue.
Legesse also offers other Ethiopian standards, including a milder stew called alicha and a chickpea dish called buticha, but when we want that intoxicating blend of spices that keep our tongues tingling for hours, doro wett is the only way to go.
Bati [747 Fulton St. between S. Portland Avenue and S. Elliott Place in Fort Greene, (718) 797-9696].