Restaurant Review: Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant in Boston

Boston, MA – An Ethiopian meal among friends is the very definition of breaking bread. There are no utensils, just stacks of the spongy flat bread known as injera, used both to cradle and to scoop a range of mild to spicy salads and stews served on a common plate. A recent, welcome addition to the string of small, unpretentious eateries in Jamaica Plain’s Hyde Square, Blue Nile offers fresh, fragrant Ethiopian fare at prices students will warm to.

The Blue Nile Restaurant (Photos by Vernon Doucette)

Beckoning to passersby through homey lace curtains, the restaurant accommodates 10 tables, arranged along moss green walls festooned sparely with Ethiopian paintings, garments, and string instruments.

Owner and Jamaica Plain resident Ellena Haile named the place for the region where her Ethiopian family has its roots. Blue Nile is one of a string of mostly Latino restaurants and shops along this lively stretch of Centre Street (the dog-friendly Brendan Behan Pub is just across the street). Although adjacent to Brookline and easily reachable by T, this neighborhood is often overlooked by the BU community.

Colorful, soothing, and eminently shareable, Ethiopian food has a character all its own. With freshly spiced offerings both vegetarian and meat-based, the dishes are rich in ginger, garlic, and chili pepper, often combined in the mild to spicy seasoning berbere. Injera, the foundation of all Ethiopian cuisine, is prepared from a fine native grain called teff in a three-step process requiring anywhere from 8 to 12 hours between each step and cooked on a stove top or fire in a mitad, a covered wok-like pan. On a recent visit to Blue Nile we worked through several stacks of the faintly sweet bread as we ate our way from a salad appetizer to a selection of stewed main dishes. Read More