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Friday, April 5, 2013

Nashville Food Friday: Mesob

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
Here is a little known fact about why I chose to settle in Nashville: They had an Ethiopian restaurant. When I was making my way across the country visiting grad schools I would take myself out on a "date night" to see if I could live in whatever city I happened to be in. My night in Nashville consisted of dinner at an Ethiopian place close to campus (which is no longer in business) and visiting the Frist museum. Culture and ethnic food in the south? I was so ready for Nashville. Since I moved here more Ethiopian restaurants have opened (or they're just new to me). My favorite will always be Addis Red Sea in Boston, but Mesob in Nashville comes fairly close!
Located a little out of the way from my usual dining circle in a tiny strip mall, Mesob is a no-fuss type of place. The decor consists of what appears to be old banquet dining tables and chairs mixed in with cheery paintings and artifacts from Ethiopia. I was hoping that a restaurant named Mesob (after the traditional Ethiopian table) would actually have them for seating. But they didn't, and that was tad bit disappointing.
Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
What surprised me is that this restaurant also appears to become a pool hall and bar later at night, which explains why their Yelp page says they're open till 3am on the weekends. When we were there around dinner time the bar and pool tables were empty. I'd like to stop back here for a cocktail and some snacks late one night.
Beef Sambusas at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
We started out with the Beef Sambusa, which to me was the Ethiopian version of an empanada. They were nicely fried and had a crisp flaky outer shell with some spiced meat inside. They were really good and didn't last long. Did I mention we went when we were VERY hungry?
Veggie combination platter at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
My favorite thing to order at any Ethiopian place is the veggie combination platter. I feel it gives you a nice variety and the option to try what the restaurant thinks is their best dishes. Now, forgive me, but I have a hard time remembering exactly what each little dish was called, so I'll just describe them by color. My favorite is always the cabbage and Mesob's cabbage was tasty. It was soft and buttery just the way I like it. Their collard greens were OK and could have used a tad bit more spice for my palate. The beets were also great! But I think my favorite thing on the plate was the brown/reddish dollop on the left hand side. I think it was the Yemisir Kike We’t (red lentils in a spicy berbere sauce) but don't hold me to that. It had the absolute best flavor and texture.
Qey Wot beef  at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
Steve was feeling more carnivorous and went with the Qey Wot, which was beef cubes in the berbere sauce. I think he ordered this because it came with Ethiopian cottage cheese to sprinkle on top. The beef was really tender and the sauce was thick and flavorful. When you combined the cheese with the meat, you couldn't really taste it. But, when you tried it by itself it had an earthy, smokey flavor to it. I wish I knew where I could buy this cheese on the regular. That would get me some major bonus points with the Steve. Oh, and the injera bread? It was very tasty. It had that nice light sour taste to it and our waiter kept bringing out more!
Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant located in Nashville Tennessee
Overall, I really liked Mesob. The service was great and we got our food rather quickly. I was really impressed by this because a HUGE group (maybe 30 people, 75% of which were kids under 10) arrived at the same time we did. Our waiters didn't overlook us to take care of the big table, a problem I have often. The owner was sweet and even stopped by to say hello and introduce himself. I highly recommend Mesob for your next Ethiopian food adventure.

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Looks yummy! Having independent, multi cultural restaurants in my area is a must. And Ethiopian food is so yummy <3

    1. It is my favorite! I only wish I knew how to cook it at home!

  2. Where is this place? I have been wanting to try ethopian food for a while!

  3. i'll have to try this! i LIVE on antioch pike and haven't heard of it. we usually go to Gojo off thompson lane. i like their buffet.

    1. Gojo is good but I find their dinner service really slow. Mesob was very attentive and our food came out in a reasonable time. I think the quality of the actual food is quite similar.


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