Summary: Unimpressive Ethiopian food in a modest dining room.
I love writing my restaurant reviews, but sometimes they become a burden (I do have other things to do with my life, after all - so sometimes I let them go for quite a while. By the time I write them, my memory of the meal is foggy, so I'm left only with general impressions. That is the case with our meal at Messob, which we visited in November 2008 - to celebrate the national and local victories in the elections. Messob had been my suggestion. I wanted to go some place ethnic, and try some place new (for me), and Messob fit the bill.
A month later, my recollection of Messob was the meal was all right, falling right in the middle of Ethiopian restaurants. There wasn't anything particularly offensive to us, but only one thing that particularly stood out as being quite good, the doro wot, which was very nicely spiced, well cooked and just tasty. We ordered both the Meat Messob (a combination of Doro Wot, Beg Alicha and Sega Wot) and the Vegetarian Messob (a combination of all their vegetable dishes).
We had the meat sambussas before the meal, and they were pretty nice - I'd definitely order them again. All in all, I'm not sure I'd go back to Messob, however, unless I was in the neighborhood and in the mood for Ethiopian food. I think other Ethiopian restaurants are better.
Being on Piedmont Avenue, I had expected Messob to be more upscale, perhaps like Finfiné in Berkeley. Alas, it's little more than a hole in the wall, very small and simply decorated. It was fine for a girl's night out, but I wouldn't come here for a date.
Service, on the other hand, was pretty good - then again, there was only one other party at the restaurant.
Messob Ethiopian Restaurant
4301 Piedmont Ave