As a foodie living in New York City, I sometimes come across dining establishments that take you on a food journey from the moment you walk inside till the moment you leave. And so I received what’s called the “Tagine Experience” on a Friday night out, dining in a lovely North African restaurant located in Manhattan. A little background information about the restaurant: it’s owned by Marissa Idrissi, an Anthropologist, who works alongside her husband Hamid Idrissi, a Moroccan and the executive chef. They serve food mainly from a native region called Berber, and have been at their new location in the garment district for over 3 years now. From both observation and conversations, I quickly learned their diverse staff members came from various nationalities. Everyone there simply acts as cultural ambassadors with an impressive knowledge of the delicacies served, so no matter whom one inquires with about any food that passes by, expect thorough explanations.
Walking inside the cozy looking restaurant felt like I’d transported from New York right into another country, with its rustic appeal and colorful furnishings much like that of a Moroccan home’s living room. The atmosphere felt so inviting overall, staffs greeted me well and so I settled in elated with eager fist rubs (inwardly), anticipating the yummy food ahead.
First, freshly prepared semolina bread got served with two special dips called Harissa and Charmoula Aioli. You have the option of having hot tea from abroad, delicious wine, or water amongst an ample of other beverage options. I opted for all three because why not experience everything possible in one day. PS: follow your heart people, mine’s that of a wild free-spirited child.
The main courses soon arrived and first came the Tagine dish (same name as the restaurant), which basically represents a clay dish containing a slow-cooked savory stew dish. I had the lamb Tagine dish filled with potatoes, carrots, green peas, all in saffron broth and oh some nuts and dried fruits surprising the palette in each bite. The meat and its splendid flavoring simply melted in my mouth! Oh, and then came the ‘Merguez Couscous’ of lamb sausages and couscous mixed in with vegetables, and shall we say my stomach received the lesson of ‘yummy 101’ by that point in the dinner.
The night was young, food oh so delicious, live music performance commenced which ante-upped the atmospheric mood as a super talented belly dancer entertained us with her swirly dance moves while balancing a sword on her head.
Cheers! To a delicious Friday night that made me totally oblivious I was still in New York.
By: Ms Rexti
Photo Credit :: StreetChicster