Get on the Horn
To find Horn of Africa Restaurant, DO NOT look for it from Murfreesboro Rd, even though the address may lead you to look for it there. What you need to do is drive on East Thompson Lane, where the 5th Quarter, CVS and Dollar General Grocery stores are. Drive into the parking lot that is between the Dollar General Grocery and the 5th Quarter. Continue into the parking lot towards the Office Depot, and before you get to the Office Depot, look to the RIGHT at the the last store of the strip mall that is on the right, and you shall see Horn of Africa Restaurant.
The history behind this place is that a young Ethiopian couple took over ownership of this place about 3 years ago. They have redecorated, shut the floresent lights off and added subtle lighting, added background music, and started cooking rather soulful home style Ethiopian recipes. Before that, the former owner let too many off-the-clock cab drivers hang out to smoke and drink tea, the place wasn't that clean, and the recipes weren't that good. Now, the cabbie contingency is less, there is less smoke in the air, there are usually another table or two of multi-ethnic diners, the tables seem to be clean, and the cook is making consistent food. The owners have set up some mossobs, woven basket tables that is the size to hold the communal plate, as well as tables commonly found in many USA restaurants. I prefer tables over mossobs, but that is just me.
The injera (flat sponge bread) is made of teff, a brownish-grey grain that is fermented before ground into flour to make this bread. I love this bread! Horn of Africa serves food traditionally, meaning that you take a small piece of injera in your right hand, use it as a scoop for the stew types of food that are offered on a giant communal plate in the center of the table, and place the tasty treat in your mouth. The great part about Ethiopian food, and Horn of Africa is that you can go completely vegetarian here. The Veggie Combo 1 includes home made cottage cheese, chickpeas, red lentils, green beans, cabbage, collard greens and tomatoes, which is more than plenty for 2, and less than $7 total (that would be $3.50 per person). Ask to leave off the cheese, and you got yourself a perfect vegan meal.
We generally get a meat dish too, and the last time we got awaze tibs, small pieces of stew meat stewed with tomato, jalapeno, garlic, onion and a berbere sauce. Berbere is a sauce made from stewing a heck of a lot spices like corriander, cardamom, all spice, tumeric and others to make a delightful aroma and flavor. To add on a meat dish, it adds about $8 to the bill, and more than enough for 3 people. The overall cost for 1 veggie combo and 1 meat dish is $15, or $5 per person in a party of 3.
I really like eat Ethiopian food because it fosters communal eating, creates a group of people sharing a meal (instead of segregated plates in American style where no one shares), slows down the pace to allow talking about the day, and offers flavors you cannot get at chain restaurants. I am so thankful that there is one Ehtiopian restaurant in Nashville that is tasty, inexpensive and nice.
Labels: Nashville Eats