When it comes to picking a restaurant, some people think I’m too picky. Every time I go out to eat, I vehemently research good spots in the area, find the best deal for the price I’m paying, and most importantly, it’s Yelp score. About 90% of the time I won’t go to a restaurant if the reviews are under 4 stars. Yes, it sounds snotty. But my reasoning is this: I won’t want to spend my valuable money on food that hundreds of other people have said is not worth it. Why willingly pay money for an experience I know won’t be worth it?? Anyways, my friend recommended this spot, which I promptly looked up on Yelp. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn….. only 3.5 stars! I was skeptical, but since my friend had been here before and enjoyed it, we decided to try it out.
Dukem is located in the U St Corridor, a hot spot for a host of restaurants, both good and mediocre. The first thing I noticed when I walked in, the entire place smelled faintly of a bathroom, pretty unpleasant. My friend and I looked over the menu, and I ordered (or so I thought) the shrimp stew, or the shrimp wot. My friend ordered the lamb tibs.
The food smelled fantastic when it came out. We both had played with a large piece of injera and a small serving of tomato salad or spicy chutney. The waitress came or with each of our orders in a plate and scooped it onto our injera plates for us, which is smart, because the bread gets soggy quite fast.
I was a little confused, because I had ordered a shrimp stew, and the dish was pretty dry. The shrimp was tasty and cooked really well, but the wonderful smelling spices were not translated in this dish – it was like they put half the amount they were supposed to. The chilies, tomatoes, and onions were good, but overall, not what I was expecting. Plus, for what I paid, I really expected more food. It was pretty expensive for mediocre quality and portions.
Turns out…I really didn’t get what I was expecting! When I got the bill, I was charged 4$ extra, and when I asked the waitress, she brought me the menu and pointed to the dish I got (and got charged for) and it was completely different than what I ordered. I got the Shrimp Tibs when I had ordered a stew. Thankfully, they made the price change, but I really wish I had received what I ordered, specially since I told her the correct number and name of the dish, and physically pointed it out.
As a meat-lover, Nkechi ventured from her regular beef preference and tried the Lamb Tibs. She was definitely happy with the dish and pleased that she tried something new, it was delicious but not bursting with flavor. However, there were a lot of bits of meat she couldn’t eat, and stems of veggies (that usually aren’t eaten) that showed up in her dish.
All in all, I wasn’t very impressed with Dukem. The food wasn’t bad, but i’ve had much better Ethiopian food with better prices…and where I get the right dish. Of course, I am not an expert on this ethnic cuisine, but I was pretty disappointed with the lack of flavor, spice, and overall mediocrity of this restaurant. For a prime location on U St and the price they’re charging, its not worth it.
The Bottom Line
Mediocre Ethiopian food. Convenient location, but nothing special.
Cone Rating: 3 Cones
Location: U St Corridor, Washington, D.C.
Price: $$ (10-20$ for a meal – more like 20$)