Our family eats out once every week (mostly on Saturdays) and we try to taste non-Indian cuisines often. Last Saturday we took another family with us to Zeni in San Jose for dinner. My husband and I had eaten there once before on valentine's day (2009) and really enjoyed the food. This time, the other family was keen on eating in an Indian restaurant. But, we gave them all our good reviews and took them to this Ethiopian restaurant and were not disappointed at all.
They serve food for the group on a single plate. They place a large injera (an unleavened bread made from teff flour - similar to dosa) on the plate and place the different side dishes (or should I call them main dishes??) on it. They also serve rolled up Injera separately. One needs to take a piece of injera and scoop up the side dishes and eat - like the Indian way. They do not give fork, spoon or knife unless asked for. According to Ethiopian tradition, people eating from the same plate do not betray each other. Ethiopian food is nicely spiced up, very aromatic and lentils and beans are used in many dishes, similar to Indian food.
The interior decor and lighting is elegant too and we got to sit around one of their colorful hand-made bamboo tables. We ordered sambussa for appetizer - a lentil savory puff. For the main course we had vegetarian combination plate, Shuro Wot, fouul. My husband had the Ethiopian coffee which was dark coffee with spices. I tasted it and found to be something like "Masala Coffee".
They have live Ethiopian music playing every Saturday. Now, the only downside - The girl who took our orders said that we have to order at least 3 entrees, since we were a party of 4 and did not let us taste the combo plate and decide on the 3rd entree later. This policy, I felt was a bit wierd. Other than that all was fine. Zeni is a restaurant worth checking out.