Fingers, Food and Fab company. Ethiopian food is a great way to bond with a large group of people. A great Ethiopian Restaurant and possibly one of the best in the bay area is "Zeni". Its in the South Bay and always packed. Make sure you go hungry but are willing to at least wait for a minimum of twenty minutes.
Ethiopian food is one of the best vegetarian options besides Indian food. There are many choices and its exotic and flavorful enough to order something besides the salad. (Now I know that pic on the side isn't too great looking, but trust me Ethiopian food here is just great!).
One of the spicy vegetarian options was the " Yemesir Wot". Just fabulous. This is a spicy lentil gravy dish with berebere sauce. This is something similar (not the same though) to the Indian Garam Masala. Similar in the sense of an insane list of ingredients that make it up. The berebere spice mixture is made of cumin seeds, cayenne, peppercorns, chillies, nutmeg, allspice and other lovely things. The sauce has a very earthy taste and is great with the injera. Other vegetarian dishes which I love include the "Ye- Timatim Fitfit". This is like an injera salad, only very fresh and juicy. It is injera soaked in the juices of fresh tomatoes, lemon, and onions. I can have a bucketload of this.
If you like to try a mild dish, I would recommend the "Kik-Alitcha". Its a lentil gravy dish with a mild seasoning. Its a great choice if this is the first time you are venturing outside of just burgers and don't want extremely spicy food. We also tried their "Atakilt Wot" - a mix of cabbage, carrots and lentils and the "Gomen Wot"- a collard green dish. These are nice but I wouldn't say their best.
The meat dishes were just fabulous. The best chicken dish would be their "Ye Doro Wat". I would say if you try Ethiopian food, this is an absolute MUST to have. I LOVE this dish. Its spicy drumsticks or thighs with ginger, garlic, tomato base as well as a hard boiled egg. It is served with fresh feta type cheese (in some restaurants not all). Ask for the 'hot' version. We also had the "Ye doro tibs"; basically pieces of seasoned fried chicken (we asked for fried, you can also get the gravy version). Its a nice dish specially if you like things fried :)
One of Zeni's specialities is their "Special Kitfo". This is seasoned ground beef cooked to your choice served along with a flavorful feta type fresh cheese. Its a great dish if you like beef. The only lamb dish we had was the "Ye-Beg Firfir". This is lamb pieces cooked in a mild/medium spicy green pepper sauce. Very flavorful and interesting way to enjoy lamb.
For drinks, we tried their Ethiopian Red wine which was quite sweet for a red wine; not my favorite. We also tried the Ethiopian Honey wine, which was insanely sweet, but this I liked. It was off the charts sweet as a drink, but I love honey and I love wine. You can really smell the honey as you swirl it. So its just great for a person like me. They also had some great Ethiopian Beers, unforunately I can't remember any of their names.....
If you'd like more info, check the website at http://www.zenirestaurant.com/