Sunday, December 14, 2008

A visitor in town, part 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Catch up! Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4
TL was leaving the next day, so we decided to stick around Fort Collins and just chill out. There were still some food places I wanted to try with him, especially Nyala because KS had named it as one of her favorite restaurants here. It had been a while since I'd had Ethiopian food, and I'd really only had it a few times before to begin with. I was excited that there was a place here in Fort Collins since it's not a place exactly booming with international cuisine.
We decided to get two combos, one meat and one vegetable, so that we could sample a variety of dishes. TL picked out the chicken combo, which included doro alicha wot, chicken breast cooked with onions and green peppers and seasoned with garlic, ginger, rosemary and turmeric, and doro tibs, chicken breast with sauteed with olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, and spiced butter. With it, I chose a veggie combo of duba wot, a butternut squash stew; yekik alicha, a stew of yellow split peas; and ye-atkilt wot, a saute of cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions.

The injera that the dishes came with was fantastic. At no other place had I been served injera so soft and fluffy, and the cut-up rolls arrived to the table warm, too, which added to their appeal. As for the stews I was a big fan of the veggie ones, especially the butternut squash one, and while I also liked the chicken dishes, I thought the pieces of breast meat were just a little on the dry side. The flavors were really good, though, and my favorite part was eating the injera "plate" that the stews had been ladled onto and which had soaked up the sauces. I was quite happy with the meal.
That night, since TL was leaving the next morning, we decided to go a little fancy and have steak for dinner. Once that decision was made, though, the trouble started. The restaurant we had originally chosen was "closed for the season" when we called, and several others were closed on Mondays. We nearly gave up when the last restaurant we looked up said on their website that they were closing in an hour, but eventually we figured out that the closing time was just an indication of their last seating, not that they would start shutting the lights off on us and kicking us out the door. Austin's American Grill it was.

At the nearly empty restaurant we started off with a hot spinach-and-artichoke dip, which came with large tortilla chips, thick stalks of celery, and wedges of carrot. I thought the latter two were a weird accompaniment, something that kinda-did and kinda-didn't work, but the tortilla chips were good with the thick, cheesy dip.
I got the coconut shrimp and sirloin plate, which was served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed squash and zucchini. None of it was very artful, but the steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and the vegetables had good flavor. The coconut shrimp was just okay, as were the mashies.
Mmm. It had been a long time since I'd had steak.

Again, no dessert, since there were still brownies (one pan goes a long way when there are only two people eating it). After an epic search for a gas station open past 10 pm, we made it back to my apartment in time to watch Borat on DVD before TL had to start packing up. And so ends the tale!

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill


  1. I'm not a fan of Ethiopian food (only ethnic food I've ever found that I don't like) but when I come, I want the grand tour too.

  2. Haha, you'll get the grand tour, it'll take about a day. Okay okay, maybe two.