Santa Trata

Local restaurant sniffers found the newly-opened Santa Trata in record time. In fact, most of us have been watching the spot next to Pho Vietnam like hawks since the short-lived (but well-liked) Real Gyro/Cafe Cabano mysteriously vanished, much to our dolmas and lamb-eating horror.

As of late November, however, the kitchen is back in business, this time Eritrean-style. (Think Reuben in ‘Along Came Polly’)

Shorthanded (if you’re not up on your romantic comedies), Eritrean is a spicy, earthy, stew-ish African cuisine that’s eaten without utensils. Instead beef, lentils, chicken and veggies are scooped up with giant pieces of injera (a plate-sized, tart crepe/pancake).

Did I mention it was spicy? Soul-weepingly. For you heat hounds, however, Santa Trata stays well over on the reasonable side of the Holy-Crap-That’s-Hot Index.

What to eat: Best bets are the spicy beef (tongue-tingling), lentils and spinach. Don’t look for them on the menu, however, because so far, there isn’t one. Rather, a tasty display plate on the counter with the day’s specials. Point to what looks tasty.

Lunch is $8.99 for two specials, plus injera and salad. Eating with your fingers: priceless.

Santa Trata Eritrean Cafe: 711 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, 707.575.8792

Stay tuned: Panettone and more next week.

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