Friday, January 16, 2009

La Usuluteca back open and expanding

La Usuluteca folks report that they are back open. They say business has been great and they are expanding into the next room. Good news all around. Thanks again for the tip Alan. If you see anything interesting you think we should know about, or if you have tips, email us and we'll track it down and let readers know.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

La Usuluteca update

This comes from a reader, Alan:

After reading your blog and your review of La Usuluteca restaurant---I went there today for lunch. Apparently it's closed for renovation.I went in the front of the establishment and noted that there were several workers sanding on sheet rock and general construction disarray.I didn't ask but the impression that I got was they were combining with the store next door which had all its windows covered up.

Anyway I offer this info so perhaps someone else doesn't make a special trip to the restaurant only to find it closed.

When/if the restaurant reopens I will email you an update.

Thanks for the tip Alan. I really hope La Usuluteca is going to reopen and perhaps expand. The food is certainly worthy of it. I'll make some calls tomorrow to find out.


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Nashville Restaurants and Food
415 Thompson Lane

The lunch buffet can be a mad rush of workers trying to cram in as much food as possible, with steam tables full of items that all taste the same. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are several places in Nashville where quality buffet food can be found in a peaceful environment. Gojo Ethiopian Cafe is one of those restaurants.
It’s hard to miss Gojo: the orange building sticks out on the Thompson Lane strip of mattress and furniture stores. You’re greeted with warm smiles by the owners, Shemsia and Ahmed Maregn. Pleasant African music rests comfortably in the background. A light incense wafts through the air. The walls are adorned with woven baskets, instruments and other artifacts of East African culture. Even the buffet serving line is simple and elegant. Six stylish, silver chafing dishes are poised on a table, with signs describing the item and ingredients. On this day those items include three vegetarian and three meat, and sides that include injera and injera salad.
Injera is spelled enjera at Gojo, which is another translation. The flat bread is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine and a big part of any meal. The look and feel of it may put off some people. It’s gray, cold and spongy. The taste is sour, because of the sour dough starter style fermentation. It’s made with Teff flour, which is a grain found in East Africa. Injera is often served underneath the other dishes in Ethiopia, with another piece used to grab the many stew like entrees. My personal preference is to try everything with and then without injera, because the sour flavor provides a great accompaniment to some dishes and not others.
At Gojo you take a piece or two of injera from a basket and you’ll find forks and spoons to give you the choice to scoop or not to scoop. Of course it would be a shame not to eat some of the entrees in true Ethiopian style. MiserWet benefits from the injera sour. Split lentils are cooked into a creamy consistency with onion, garlic and ginger. It has a lovely, subtle flavor with just a little mild kick in the background from garlic and hot pepper. The Beef Stew tastes like it was made for injera bread. It’s moist and with a mellow taste that is brought to life with a bit of sour flatbread to scoop up each piece. The cabbage with turmeric sauce is one dish perhaps better eaten alone. It’s plenty sour on its own. Yellow split pea has some ginger and garlic but remains rather tame. Laid back, savory flavors are the centerpiece for this lunch and that’s okay. The only entrĂ©e with some zip is Bozena Shiro, beef with chickpea. It’s bolder and with a bit of heat.
The injera may be best when paired with tomatoes, peppers and vinegar for the Injera Salad. You can finish up with a nice fruit salad in syrup. In all, it’s comforting food on a chilly December day.
The dinner menu includes a couple of pastry dishes for appetizers and a selection of salads. Entrees cover a range of meats such as Kifto beef, Yebeg lamb tips and DoroWet chicken. They always have several vegetarian items, including the Vegetarian Combo which allows you to get smaller portions of four different veggie entrees.
Gojo is the name for traditional Ethiopian homes and you’ll probably feel right at home in this Nashville restaurant whether it be for lunch or dinner. The lunch buffet is $7.99. I paid $10 with tax and tip.
Gojo Ethiopian Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon