Eating to Live on the Outside: Mesob

Okay Eat to Livers, the past two weeks have been a tough row to hoe. Let’s recap. Last week we found out that Don Pablo’s is a haven for the melted cheese connoisseur and the week before that, well, let’s just say you won’t find Fazoli’s faux-talian fast food on any Eat to Livers radar. But don’t fret, this week I’ve got a real winner—Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant!

Located in Montclair New Jersey, Mesob offers an array of Fuhrman-friendly dishes. In fact—get ready vegans—a large portion of the menu is comprised entirely of vegetable-based entrees prepared vegan style. And they all look great! I think healthy favorites like Just Salads, Go Raw Café, and Baja Fresh have some new competition. Well what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

You know its going to be good when even the appetizers are Fuhrman-friendly. At most standard American restaurants the word appetizer means deep-fried, triple-battered, or extra-cheesed. Not at Mesob. Three of their appetizers look really good: Azifa, Butcha, and Ingudai Tibs. Azifa is a lentil salad seasoned with red onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and spices. The Butcha is pretty similar; prepared with pureed chickpeas, red onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Now the Ingudai Tibs is a little different; Portobello mushroom marinated and sautéed with red onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, fresh tomato, herbs, and spices. All three sound great, but because my stomach doesn’t take kindly to spicy stuff, I’d ask the waiter to omit the jalapeno. Oh, and the olive, I can live with it—just look at all those veggies!

As for the entrees, they’re looking mighty good too. Three of the dishes appear to be dinner-sized versions of Azifa, Butcha, and the Ingudai Tibs, so I’ll skip them. Okay, onto the others. The Gomen definitely appeals to my taste; fresh collard greens simmered in mild sauce seasoned with spice and herbs. I just can’t say no to leafy greens—I’ll take a double order please! I like the Atkilt Wat too; made with fresh green beans, fresh carrots, and simmered in a flavorful mild sauce. I’d be interested in knowing exactly what’s in the sauce, but I doubt it’d stop me from ordering it. The Tikile Gomen is along the same lines; cabbage and potatoes simmered in a mild sauce—cabbage is another favorite of mine. I also like the Kik Aletcha, again, pretty similar too the Atkilt Wat and Tikile Gomen; yellow peas simmered in a flavorful onion and herb sauce. Can you really say anything bad about this food? Concessions might be a thing of the past!

Mesob also offers a couple of spicy vegetable entrees, now, just because I won’t order them doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be excellent options for someone else. Between them they have lentils, split peas, garlic, and red onions. If it wasn’t for the heat—I’d be all over them!

Can I be honest for a second? I’ve never had Ethiopian food, and before I discovered Mesbo, I wouldn’t have had much to say about it. How lucky am I that Mesbo is only about an hour away from where I live? I think a visit is in order. I’ll keep you posted—that was a blogging pun in case you missed it. In the meantime if you have any Ethiopian cuisine stories, please let me know, and maybe I’ll blog about it.

Oh, and you know the drill, we want your feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Mesob's menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at
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Bruce Hamilton - January 14, 2007 8:18 PM

I've eaten at half a dozen restaurants in Los Angeles's "Little Ethiopia", and at one not far away in Inglewood. The challenge is always to avoid the oil. The best Ethiopian restaurant I've ever encountered is Ras Kassa's in Boulder, CO.


heather - July 12, 2010 1:34 PM

i just ate at mesob's this past saturday!!!! and coincidentally, ate ingudai tibs as my meal! it was DELICIOUS! i'm not vegan or even vegetarian, and neither is my mother (my dining partner; but we DEVOURED that dish. usually, my mother gets lamb, and she even said that next time she goes there, she is getting the mushrooms. it was an unforgettable meal.

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