Phoenix New Times
Watt's for Dinner -
By Carey Sweet
Out of Africa come the flavors you'll find at Tempe's Blue Nile Cafe
''... Blue Nile is the dream of Abel Taddesse Meja, a former resident of Africa. This is his first restaurant, but he handles the business like a true pro, focusing on fresh ingredients, friendly service and from-scratch cooking.
The main dining room isn't much to look at -- gray walls with painted ceiling borders of African symbols, gray linoleum floors and casual chairs done in wood and gray-blue vinyl. Most of the tables are plain, but a few show imagination, featuring glass-topped boxes divided into compartments packed with raw beans, lentils and peas. It's like eating atop an earth-tone rainbow, a mosaic of maroon, mint green, burnt orange, corn yellow, taupe and golden-brown pebbles.
But the real excitement is in the adjoining room, where olive and apricot walls embrace a cozy klatsch of traditional Ethiopian dinettes: intricately carved, swaybacked wooden stools, about half a foot high, clustered around a mesab, a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with a domed cover (think of a mini woven Taj Mahal)..." >>more
Phoenix New Times
Best Place To Go In De-Nile
Blue Nile Cafe
''... We choose to sit in the traditional Ethiopian section of the restaurant, on intricately carved, swaybacked wooden stools, about half a foot high, clustered around a mesab, a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with a domed cover (think of a mini woven Taj Mahal). Eating Ethiopian food is part of the experience. When the mesab cover is removed, the server presents a hubcap-size tray blanketed with injera, an enormous quilt of unleavened bread that is the heart and soul, plus utensils, of Ethiopia. The steamed bread is more like a pancake, fluffy and pocketed with bubbles, tangy with sourdough character. The bread serves as a tablecloth of sorts, adorned with small mounds of food, and we tear off pieces of bread to scoop stews or wrap meats burrito-style.
As we feast here, it's easy to pretend everything in the world is okay. It's a simple case of de-nile..." >>more
The Arizona Republic
9 places for the ASU crowd
The new Blue Nile Cafe is the Valley's second Ethiopian restaurant. (Cafe Lalibela, a few miles west on the same street, arrived a few years ago.) It's not surprising that both are near Arizona State University, where the inexpensive, exotic fare seems likely to appeal to adventurous, budget-conscious students.
Third World food doesn't have to mean Third World atmosphere. Neat and tidy, Blue Nile shows off homeland artifacts and pipes in homeland music. The front room, furnished with tables and chairs, is for reluctant Westerners who have to be dragged here kicking and screaming.
You want to be in the inside room, where you get to eat Ethiopian style: seated on low, elaborately carved stools, in front of a mesob, a colorful woven table sporting a conical "hat." After you order, the "hat" is temporarily removed -- it returns covering your party's tray of food... >>more
"The other" Ethiopian Restaurant in Tempe - by Steve Carlson
Basking in the shadows of the highly-touted Cafe Lalibela (just down the street) is "the other" Ethiopian restaurant in Tempe, the Blue Nile Cafe.
And if people did a survey, they probably wouldn't find much difference between the two: food-wise, or price-wise, or service-wise, when all is said and done. They're even both closed on the same day, Monday.
The only noticeable difference is that the Blue Nile attracts a quieter, more sedate crowd.
My advice: try them both. >>more