The Place:Ras Dashen, 2801 East Cherry Street 98122 709-7626
The Hours: Daily, 5:00 - 8:00 pm, closed Mondays
The Digs: Seattle is mostly known as the city with a Starbucks on every corner. But in some neighborhoods, the Starbucks are replaced by something tastier; in this case, Ethiopian restaurants. The intersection of Martin Luther King and Cherry features three favorites: Assimba, Lalibela, and Ras Dashen. Ras Dashen drew our attention on a recent Friday night with its small signboard touting "Happy Hour 5-8" and its nearly full parking lot.
Ras Dashen is named after the highest mountain in Ethiopia and the interior of the space certainly reflects the vibrancy of the Ethiopian culture. Colorful tapestries and art works cover the walls and Ethiopian music blares from the sound system. And...it smells wonderful.
The Deal: One of the more hilarious happy hours you're likely to run across, Ras Dashen offers $2.50 beers for happy hour - but not Ethiopian beers. Drink your fill of cheap Manny's or Guinness (both on tap), but if you're looking for a soothing Hakim Stout or one of the other five Ethiopian beers Das Rashen offers, you'll have to shell out full price.
There is a full bar, stocked with the basics, as well as Axumit sweet red wine, Gouder dry red wine and Enat Tej honey wine. Das Rashen also serves Ethiopian coffee: green Ethiopian yirgacheffe beans roasted by hand, ground, pressed and served espresso-style in a small cup.
The Verdict: Happy hour may be a bit of a joke at Ras Dashen, but it's a great excuse to venture out for an eating experience. Das Rashen has ambiance, the bar is full of regulars, and the food is very good. There's even Shiro Wot, a favorite sauce made of ground beans, onions, ginger, garlic and berbere sauce that can be hard to find in some Ethiopian restaurants. Maybe start out with a cheap happy hour Manny's before ordering a glass of Axumit wine with dinner - the label on the back of the bottle sums up an evening at Das Rashen: "The peculiarity of this wine makes it appreciated by everybody & unique for the connoisseurs as appetizer, as dessert, as well as for pleasant company."