First off, you need to find this place. There is no signage outside that says the restaurant name. I'll be honest, we had been in the area a few days before and saw a man outside what I thought was a tenant hotel, who looked African and later when I read the reviews on trip advisor, I had an idea where it would be located.
Atmosphere: Yes, this is definitely located in an old hotel lobby. It didn't "feel" like a restaurant when we went inside, and a few of the tables were not cleared, but we were up for an adventure so we stayed.
Service: The waitress had a welcoming smile and came to our table right away. The menus are written in Ethiopian (probably not the correct name for their language) with basic English descriptions. We didn't get glasses of water, but we've noticed that to be pretty standard in Minnesota unless you ask for you - you don't get it. The service wasn't quick, but we weren't in a hurry and it wasn't unreasonably long either.
Food: We didn't have any idea what to order, so I approached some English speaking customers and asked them what they were having. She knew it was beef and lentils but didn't know what the name was either. I tried to relay to the waitress we wanted what they were having, but she kept wanting to serve us lamb. We aren't lamb eaters so we did manage to communicate we wanted chicken, beef, and lentils. She also asked if we wanted greens. Ultimately we ended up with a wonderful spicy beef dish, a friend chicken leg with very sticky rice and the most amazing spicy green sauce to dip it in, a lentil dish, homemade cheese (similar to feta in consistency, but not in taste) and collard greens.
You don't have utensils to eat the food. They serve it with a pancake type bread and you tear it off and scoop the food onto it and eat it. By the end of the meal, I had become comfortable with this and was actually really enjoying the experience.
I would say the food deserves an "excellent" rating. It was outstanding. I just can't give the entire restaurant an excellent because of the atmosphere. The entire meal was $18 and more than enough for two adults. We did witness someone pay with a credit card, but there seemed to be some confusion about how they could add the tip onto the card. We paid with cash and had no problems at all. Absolutely worth a try!
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