Hearing that Ras Kassas offers “Boulder’s finest Ethiopian fare” (as their website proclaims) may strike one along the lines of “ the Buffs are Boulder’s finest college football team” or “those three sandstone slabs are Boulder’s finest flatirons.” So, to avoid the faint praise attendant upon tautology, let us stipulate that Ras Kassas’s fare is among Boulder’s finest, period.
Amongst other alchemical talents, the cooks here are able to transform the unprepossessing red lentil into something regal and complex; to coax beets and potatoes into happy marriage; and to place garlic, ginger, and turmeric at the service of yellow split peas and spinach in ways that will have the vegetarians at your table nodding conspiratorially. While the veggies shine, lamb, chicken, and beef are equally well treated, served in stews and broths that seem simmered slowly for hours, mixed variously with onions, peppers, tomatoes, rosemary, and mango.
In the traditional manner, injera sponge bread substitutes for those pronged and scooped metal things that most of use most of the time and that will suddenly seem, two bites in, way overrated. The community feel of the restaurant, established by low seating around charmingly intimate tables, is enhanced by the generous spirit of the hosts and the burble of the Creek outside. It all makes for a delightful experience. So much so that we can say without equivocation — as sure as X is X and Y is Y, in fact — that your meal at Ras Kassas will be finger-licking good.