The one-block stretch of South Fairfax Avenue between Olympic Boulevard and Whitworth Drive is small but vital. Little Ethiopia, a name that Mayor James K. Hahn bestowed to the street in 2004, features Ethiopian restaurants and markets, along with the occasional shoe store or erotic cakery. Eyob Tadesse, who hails from the small Ethiopian city of Dessie, has run Buna Ethiopian Market for four-and-a-half years. The space features shelves of spices, grains and imports up front, and further back, a dining room with six wood tables and tan walls lined with Ethiopian art. Order from an overhead menu, and be sure to start with fish.
Fish with Veggie Combo ($12.99) features trout pan-fried or trout baked with garlic salt and served with five kinds of vegetables. You’ll want the fish pan-fried, which yields crispy skin and luscious, flaky white meat. Just squeeze on lemon. Bones are pretty easy to avoid, and once you start eating, the experience is pretty much unstoppable. The sides are fine, but mainly incidental. Miser Wot translates to split lentil with onion, garlic, ginger and hot pepper. Kik Aletcha involves yellow split peas with garlic, onion and turmeric sauce. Collard greens are sauteed with onion, garlic and green pepper. Cabbage cooks with carrot, potato, onion, garlic and ginger. Shiro Wot amounts to well spiced chickpea flour. You’ll also find chopped tomato, which is basically a refreshing Ethiopian version of pico de gallo. Of course, every meal comes with injera, the sour Ethiopian sponge bread that doubles as your utensil.