Sunday, December 4 2022

Chef/owner Elias Taddesse is expanding with Doro Soul Food, an Ethiopian fried chicken restaurant. Photo courtesy of Edens.

Chef Elias Taddesse was trained in France and has worked in several starred kitchens in Manhattan. But when it comes to his own restaurants, the chef, who grew up in Addis Ababa and Minneapolis, enjoys exploring the intersection of Ethiopian and American cuisines. At Mixture, his burger and sandwich-centric business in the Mt. Vernon triangle, Taddesse dabbles in crispy chicken sandwiches inspired by doro wat and spicy Berber fries, the kind of food he’ll run on during of his next adventure. Doro Soul Food, a fast-casual restaurant dedicated to Ethiopian-style fried chicken and African-American soul food, will open in Shaw this fall.

“How long has Ethiopian cuisine been a big part of the DC scene? And we haven’t gone beyond what it really is. We haven’t had many chefs push the envelope,” says Taddesse, who launched Blend at the start of the pandemic after years of pop-ups. “I want to be at the forefront, telling our stories, sharing our spices and helping them evolve.”

Taddesse grew up on Popeye’s in America and plans to give the chain’s style of extra-crispy, boneless fried chicken and sandwiches an Ethiopian twist. He’ll dredge Amish birds in hot oil mixed with niter kibbeh (Ethiopian clarified butter) and three styles of heat: mild, hot with Berber spices, and scorching with mita mita, a fiery chili blend. It will also offer a vegan version of tender crisps made with jackfruit and pea protein with the same heat levels.

Fine dining meets fast food in many of Taddesse’s dishes. A grilled Doro chicken sandwich will receive a marinade from Taddesse’s time at Troisgros three Michelin stars in France – yoghurt, harissa, spices – and a rosemary aioli. For sides, the menu takes inspiration from soul food classics like cornbread with cumin butter, braised collard greens with smoked turkey and Ethiopian spices, and doro wat macaroni and cheese dusted with crumbs. of crunchy injera.

Ultimately, Taddesse dreams of exploring Ethiopian flavors using classic and avant-garde French techniques in a gourmet format. But first: affordable, accessible, inventive food for all.

“In today’s environment, comfort food is what the customer would appreciate the most,” says Taddesse. “My the goal is to share Ethiopian cuisine as much as possible.

Doro Soul Food will open blocks at Howard University for take-out and delivery. Stay tuned for an opening date.

Doro’s Soul Food. 1819 Seventh Street, NW.

food editor

Anna Spiegel covers the restaurant and bar scene in her native DC. Before joining Washingtonian in 2010, she completed the MFA program at the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in New York and St. John, in the US Virgin Islands.

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