by Hannah Wallace

Photography by Chad Spencer

Queen of Sheba Fusion brings Ethiopian flavors back to Sarasota.

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THE PLACE Queen of Sheba Fusion, 4195 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 359-8000. A satellite of the successful Tampa location, Queen of Sheba fills an Ethiopian niche with other international influences. A former KFC, the sunlit space has been cleared of its fast-food clutter and replaced with simple but charming tables, white tablecloths and cloth napkins.

THE PEOPLE Young professionals from adjacent law offices; students from the nearby East-West College of Natural Medicine.

TIME FACTOR Considering the complex flavors involved, food comes out surprisingly quickly, and attentive service keeps things moving.

THE FOOD Organized by protein, the menu features traditional Ethiopian flavors (onion, rosemary, turmeric and the traditional spice mixture berbere) with beef, chicken, lamb, seafood and several hearty vegetarian options. Most ranging from $10 to $16, dishes like Queen’s Lamb Tibs ($13) and the tilapia-based Hanna’s Special Asa Dullet ($16) are automatically paired with a variety of stewed vegetable sides including potatoes, cabbage and misr wot, a lentil stew. Everything is accompanied by injera, a ubiquitous Ethiopian sourdough-risen flatbread with a spongy texture, to be used as an edible utensil.

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