Friday, January 23, 2009
Having grown up in Saudi Arabia I can be pretty picky about Mideastern food. Cafe Morocco gets my overwhelming support and recommendation. I've been going there for years and it is always consistent.
I do tend to go for weekday lunch. They have a more extensive menu in the evenings, but I cannot comment on that. I can only tell you some of my favorite dishes from lunch.
Ninety percent of the time I order the Kufta Hummus. This is a plate with a layer of hummus spread across it and then kufta served on top and pita bread on the side. Kufta is a spiced mix of ground beef that is often shaped onto skewers or into small balls or rolls. On this dish they are just in small lumps of ground beef. I scoop up hummus and meat onto the pita wedge and chomp away. But you have to add the pepper sauce! In the middle of each table, next to the salt/pepper, is a small container filled with their pepper sauce (for lack of a better word). It's chopped up peppers in olive oil with some additonal spices. They have to make a huge batch once a week. Sometimes it is spicier than other times. Yesterday it was quite hot. I take spoonfuls of it and mix it into my hummus. Yum!
Once in a while I feel a need for my veggies and so I'll order the Hal Salad. It's made with lots of chopped romaine, red onions, tomatoes, grilled veggies,feta cheese, olives, toasted pita chips as croutons. You can choose to add chicken, lamb, or beef on top. Then they top it with a special garlicy dressing. This is a great salad! My only complaint is that I think they put on a little too many pita chips. But it is a huge salad and very satisfying.
Another occassional item I will order is their Bell Pepper Mahshi. They call it their low carb special. You get a cooked green pepper filled with a mix of ground beef, tomatoes, onion, corn, peas, mushrooms, pine nuts, carrots and middle eastern spices. Then they drizzle over it that same great garlicy dressing. This item comes with your choice of soup or small Greek salad.
If you get the soup, it is the Harira soup, made with rice, lentils and garbanzo beans prepared in a tomato base with Moroccan spices, cilantro and cinnamon. Super thick, hearty, and filled with flavor. I would love the recipe for this and for the dessert.
If I order dessert it is always the Aish Essaraya, or Rich Man's bread. They soak bread in sugared rose water and then on top of that is a light custard topped with a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. Wonderful and different.
I always leave Cafe Morocco completely sated and happy. They are one restaurant that I return to again and again and again.