Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant
Vegan Combo – Suff and Timatim Fit Fit (Sunflower, Tomato, Onion, Jalapeno, torn Injera) Shiro (Chickpea Powder, Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes,) Tikil Gomen (Cabbage, Carrots, Potato, Onion, Garlic, Ginger,) Key Sire (Beets, Carrots, Potato, Onion, Garlic, Spice,) Misir Wot (Red Lentil, Berbere, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Herbs,) Gomen Wot (Collard Greens, Onion, Garlic,) Kik Alicha (Peas, Onions, Garlic, Peppers, Herbs,) Salad, Injera
Special Combo – Gomen Yefyel (Collard Greens, Bone-In Goat, Onion, Garlic, Herbs,) Lenga Tibs (Cubed Beef, Tomato, Onion, Garlic, Herbal Butter, Rosemary,) Kitfo (Lean Ground Beef, Mitmita, Butter, Seasoning, Cottage Cheese,) Doro Wot (Chicken Stew, Berbere, Ginger, Garlic, Herb Butter, Egg,) Aybe Cheese, Injera
Originally opened in Las Vegas in 2015, though the family of owners has been committed to serving traditional Ethiopian Cuisine to both immigrants and the community around them since 1992, it was partially in preparation for an upcoming trip and also out of curiosity that a party of three sat down inside Lucy Ethiopian on Friday for dinner, the apparently early hour of 6pm finding the main dining room otherwise empty though there was a small private group enjoying dinner in the private room tucked behind a curtain.
Fortunate enough to have been involved in the care of many sons and daughters of Ethiopia during the course of training as well as practice, the city of Columbus containing one of the nation’s most dense populations while Las Vegas also employs a fair share of individuals in the hospitality industry, it was on the word of a father of four that Lucy was “the only Ethiopian food I’ll eat besides my wife’s” that recommendations had been sought prior to sitting down, the choice of two combination platters providing enough food for nearly twice as many at an all-inclusive cost of just over $40.
A surprisingly large space at 4850 West Flamingo Road, the storefront itself a little difficult to see from the street but in reality not all that far from the Strip, diners approaching Lucy Ethiopian will first notice that the restaurant’s windows are covered with blinds as well as laminate to protect against the early day sun and although the inside may appear a little drab thanks to grey tile and old ceilings there is no questions of the space’s cleanliness, everything including the bathrooms and 21-and-older Bar spotless with servers seen polishing glasses shortly after arrival and quickly wiping up as soon as the private party was finished.
Playing mellow traditional music overhead and sports on several televisions, a combination of Soccer, NCAA Football and the Golden Knights’ first game on this particular evening, it was with waters filled for the first of several times that approximately twenty minutes passed between order and food delivery, both plates arriving almost simultaneously and quickly flooding the table with a vast array of shapes, smells and colors.
Totaling twelve individual menu items across the two trays, eight spongy rolls of Injera made with the authentic Teff-based recipe offered as the only form of ‘utensils,’ it was with a focus on things served warm that dining commenced, the Misir Wot featuring heavily spiced Red Lentil with a top-notes of Garlic and Onion an immediate favorite as was the Doro Wot featuring a similar list of ingredients served around a hard-boiled Egg and Chicken Drumstick.
Attempting to avoid filling up too much on the Wraps, the three lighter rolls a bit more sour than the dark rolls served both beneath and alongside the ingredients, it was with hands immediately covered in sauce that large spears of tender Beets and Carrots were enjoyed in a smear of Garlic and spices including Basil, Turmeric and Cardamom, the Vegan Combo’s Collard Greens a bit too bitter to be enjoyed on their own while those served as a special request with Goat Meat as part of the Special Combo were better cooked and drained with more of the expected deep cruciferous flavor.
Receiving the Kitfo lightly seared, though by tradition it seems a dish typically served raw, it was with a lot of spice that the finely ground Tartare again ignited the palate before being cooled off by a bit dry Aybe, the taste not dissimilar from Dry-Curd Cottage Cheese and tasty on its own, though even better with the Lenga Tibs as a sort of Ethiopian Fajita.
Far too full for Dessert, the menu of sweets appearing fairly straight-forward and apparently not made in house, it was with the Yellow Pea-based Kik Alicha and a few more bites of Kitfo that the meal was finished, a lot of Injera plus some Greens still leftover but the staff apparently quite impressed by the table’s willingness to try everything and the waitress even going so far as to give the 10-year-old dining with the group a big hug before leaving.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: With no basis for comparison it is hard to say whether Lucy serves really good Ethiopian Cusine or just a fair representation of the genre, but willing to trust both my own palate as well as that of a man born overseas it seems safe to say that this is the real deal with good ingredients and a price that almost seems too low for a generous portion size of something so healthy.
RECOMMENDED: Misir Wot, Kik Alicha, Lenga Tibs, Kitfo, Doro Wot.
AVOID: Gomen Wot.
TIP: Open 7am-4am daily with a full bar, the restaurant no longer accepts $15 off $30 coupons from Restaurant.com and states they have contacted the company about this several times.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.