Neighborhood Eats: Ethiopian cafe keeps family tradition alive

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Lauren Glassberg has the story.

In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, we've got a taste of Ethiopia you can get without ever leaving Manhattan.

Tsion, located at 763 St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, is a cafe and bakery that is delighting patrons.

"When people come here, we want them to feel like they're stepping into their living room," owner Beejhy Barhany said. "We want them to feel comfortable and welcome, a warm feeling."

The smell of coffee roasting adds to that Ethiopian tradition, which is part of the experience at the Tsion Cafe. Barhany opened the spot a year and a half ago, not far from her Harlem home.

"I was born in Ethiopia, grew up in Israel and here in New York," she said. "So we incorporate a little of everything."

The menu reflects her background. There are traditional Ethiopian dishes like fir fir to shakshuka, which is Mediterranean. The Tsion Eggs are lox, eggs and onions with injera, essentially an Ethiopian crepe, instead of a bagel.

Another popular dish is called tibs, which is filet mignon sauteed with shallots, tomatoes and jalapenos in an Ethiopian butter that's been infused with spices. Sweet wine and a spicy berbere sauce round out the dish, and the beef is served on top of injera along with vegetable sides.
"You have to eat it with the injera, with your hands," Barhany said. "That even makes it taste better."

Local artists show their work on the walls, and there are even readings and live music.

It's all natural offshoot for Barhany, who started a non-profit more than a decade ago that teaches about diversity in the Jewish world. The name of her cafe is a spiritual reference to Mount Zion in Israel.

Check out their website, where you can find a description of the menu and all the different foods choices.
Tibs recipe from Tsion Cafe

--1 cup cut-up filet mignon

--1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
--1/4 cup chopped jalapenos (seeds removed)
--2 shallots sliced
--Salt to taste
--1/4 cup sweet ethiopian wine
--1 sprig of thyme
--1/4 cup Ethiopian butter (can be bought at specialty store or made at home)
--2 tbs berbere sauce (can be bought at specialty store or made at home)
--Injera (Ethiopian crepe, can be bought at specialty store or made at home)

--Heat butter over medium high heat in medium pan
--Add shallots

--Saute one minute
--Add tomatoes and jalapenos
--Sautee two minutes
--Add beef
--Sautee for 3 to 4 minutes
--Sprinkle with salt
--Add thyme
--Add wine
--Cook off for 1 to 2 minutes
--Add berbere sauce at end and stir
--Remove thyme sprig
--Plate on top of or along with injera and your favorite vegetables
Related Topics:
foodneighborhood eatsNew York CityHarlem (Central)
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