Major Restaurant1150 S Mickley Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46241
When we lived in DC, there were so many Ethiopian restaurants to try that we ended up eating it about once per month. Our favorite place there was Dukem (if you’re ever in DC, you must try it) and having been in Indy for several months, we were having Dukem withdrawals. Based on the glowing reviews, we were excited to try Major Restaurant. As fate would have it, they were running a special ($11 for $22 or $20 for $40) through Amazon Local–a great deal for a place like this. The decor of this place was colorful and bright without an inch of empty space on any of the walls. There are two types of seating options here: your usual table tops which are located to your left upon entering, and traditional Ethiopian style seating (a basket table big enough to fit one shared plate) on the right. Major is run by a husband and wife team who do a great job, both in the kitchen and waiting on customers.
We started with an order of Chicken Sambussas ($4.50). These are three pieces of thin dough stuffed with chicken and herbs. It also comes with green and red pepper sauces. The chicken itself was a little dry, but the flavors were good. The red pepper sauce was delicious and was obviously homemade and fresh. Initially, it had a sweet flavor that was immediately followed by heat. Often times hot sauce burns the hell out of your mouth, but has no real flavor. This sauce was especially delicious because of its unique flavoring, not just the spice. The green pepper sauce was jalapeño-based and also had a good kick, but not as much flavor.
Recommendation: If the chicken was not so dry, this dish would have been excellent. Thankfully, it was accompanied by some delicious sauces that helped counter the dryness.
Seeing that there were around 40 different entrée options, we decided to go for one of the combinations. Not only do you get to try different varieties of meat, but you also get a variety of vegetables. The combinations tend to be your best deals at Ethiopian places. We opted for the Major Combination ($18 for 1 person, $38 for 2, $50 for 3). It comes with eight vegetables and Gomen Be-Siga, Doro Watt, Ye-Beg Watt and Ye-Beg Alicha Tibs. The Gomen Be-Siga (top left) consists of tender pieces of beef meat mixed with spinach, onion and garlic, and comes either mild or spicy. The Ye-Beg Watt (bottom right) is tender pieces of lamb mixed with gomen (spinach) onion, tomatoes and tumeric. Of the four, both the Ye-Beg Watt and the Gomen Be-Siga were our least favorite. The meat of the Ye-Beg Watt was very chewy and the the Gomen Be-Siga was not too flavorful or memorable.
Our two favorites were the Doro Watt (bottom left) and the Ye-Beg Alicha Tibs (top right). The Doro Watt is a standard Ethiopian dish with a chicken leg and hard boiled egg that is cooked in lemon and ginger, and a spicy sauce. Like the sambussas, the chicken leg was slightly dry. The sauce of the Doro Watt had flavorful spice that was not overpowering. The Ye-Beg Alicha Tibs is lamb cooked with onions, tomatoes and rosemary. The lamb is diced so it was not as chewy as the Ye-Beg Watt.
All combinations come with eight vegetables. Starting at 3 o’clock and going clockwise until 9 o’clock the vegetables were: red lentils, spinach, cabbage and carrots, salad, green lentils, collard greens, yellow lentils, and brown lentils. Of the veggies, the red and yellow lentils were our favorites with the salad coming in third. The other lentils were pretty bland. The injera (Ethopian bread that has a spongy texture) was very good, although our first batch was warm and our second batch was cold. We prefer our injera to be slightly warm, but were glad that they didn’t charge us when we asked for extra injera.
With this being our first Ethiopian experience in Indy, we are quite satisfied. There are four other combinations that we will have to try to see which combination we like best. For the most part, the food was flavorful and all of it was fresh. The service was attentive and friendly, which always positively adds to the overall experience. Major Restaurant set the bar high for the other Ethiopian restaurants in the Circle City.
Dress Code: Casual