You'll find an eclectic crowd at the Blue Nile: elderly couples, young families, groups of friends and most tellingly, Ethiopians.
The servers will politely ask whether you've eaten Ethiopian food before. If not, they talk you through the menu, as well as the Ethiopian custom of sharing a communal plate and eating with your hands. Traditionally, meals are eaten by scooping up spicy meat and veggies with sour ingerra bread. (If you'd prefer to eat solo with a fork, that's fine, too.) We followed our server's tip and started with a traditional Ethiopian coffee service, which involved brewing dark, smooth coffee at the table in a contraption that could have come from a high school science lab ($10). (It took 10 minutes, but provided solid entertainment.)
Next up was delicious, piping-hot sambusas, fried turnovers filled with spicy beef ($3.95). And finally, a vegetarian sampler platter ($12.95), a colorful pinwheel of perfectly spiced stews on a huge round platter: garbanzo "meatballs" in a sweet tomato sauce, garlicky green beans and carrots, yellow lentils, gingery collard greens and more. A plate of tidy rolls of spongy, tortillalike bread accompanies every order; just tear off a piece and dig in.