Still haven’t been to Ethiopian food yet? You’ve gotta do it. And even if you’ve previously enjoyed scooping up the soupy goodness with your injera, Cafe Rehoboth is highly recommended as a new place to try.
Located just near Japan Town in San Jose, Cafe Rehoboth, though mildly unpronounceable, is a great place for Ethiopian fare. We’ve become somewhat of Ethiopian connoisseurs over the past few years and find that Rehoboth fits the bill for standard atmosphere and service in an Ethiopian restaurant, while perhaps exceeding expectations in terms of menu layout and choices.
Ethiopian restaurants are to be judged on a different scale than other restaurants. There seems to be something about them that just does not add up to any “normal” restaurant we’re used to. I won’t harp on the differences, since I’ve done so before, but let’s just summarize and say that the decor is often stark, the seating is often empty, and there is often no music playing in the background. This can sometimes be awkward: sitting in a silent, empty room, munching on your slop. Once you know what to expect, however, you can focus on the food rather than the oddities of the atmosphere.
Cafe Rehoboth had the same general lack of customers and background music upon our arrival, but that may have been because we arrived late on a Wednesday evening. The atmosphere was actually quite nice compared to some of the other places we’ve been to. The menu here was pro—it looked professionally designed and printed, and was clear and extensive. This is sometimes hard to find at Ethiopian restaurants that we’ve frequented in the past. We were hence able to decide our culinary fate with ease.
I hate to say it, but I have literally found almost no need for other items on Ethiopian menus than sampler plates. Samplers allow you to experience a variety of the foods offered without committing to any one dish. It’s the best idea ever and every Ethiopian restaurant seems to be on board with it. Only glancing over the menu, our table of 7 ordered veggie combos for 5 of us and meat combos for the other 2.
When you order a combo plate (or any dishes) at an Ethiopian restaurant you will undoubtedly receive your meal(s) on one gigantic plate to be shared among up to 4 people. Again, if you expect this, it’s kinda fun. Our meals arrived after a bit of a wait (I gave them a break about this—we did order one of everything on the menu in the combos) and were delicious. Instead of attempting to describe the different flavors of goo in uneducated jargon, perhaps the following pictures of our food can speak instead.
The food was well received by all and the staff was kind and friendly as usual (Ethiopian folks seem to be very nice people, at least the ones that staff restaurants in other countries). I not only enjoyed Cafe Rehoboth, I’d happily return for more anytime we’re in San Jose.