18
Dec
09

Somewhere in Marrakech


Just missing the story tellers, local souk and snake charmers, I walked into mystical Morocco when I entered Darna (600 Columbus Ave – North East corner of 89th; New York 10024; Telephone: 212.721.9193), right here in New York City, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Magically transported to the heart of Fez, Rabat, Marrakech or perhaps Casablanca and Rick’s Café Américain… I expected to hear the echo of Ilsa’s voice asking Sam: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'”

I arrived at Darna as they began dinner service. Carlos tastefully arranged a corner table for me while Katja navigated me through the extensive menu of surprisingly well priced fare.

I started with a Humus plate, which came with a zaatar (hyssop) pita and mixed greens.

Deliciously flavorful, it was followed by Moroccan Cigars with accompanying greens and tomato flower garnish atop a Tehina Sauce.

The meat filled cigars were crispy on the outside, tender and savory on the inside; a perfect blend of flavors.

Darna’s Stuffed Chicken was the main course, a whole roasted Cornish hen stuffed with prunes, apricots, raisins, mushrooms and almonds with a side of  Couscous (their signature dish!) topped with string beans and carrots.

The stuffed hen was tender and superb in taste; the side dish delicious! The meal was accompanied by a delightful 2007 Barkan Pinot Noir.

Darna means “our home” in Moroccan Arabic. The time went by too quickly; the homey food, the polite and friendly staff, the cozy beautifully appointed authentic Moroccan décor, the soft Moroccan music certainly made me feel like a valued guest at the home of some trusted old friends…truly a hidden precious jewel in Manhattan!

To borrow a line from the movie Casablanca, “Luis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” I’ll be back!

CS


2 Responses to “Somewhere in Marrakech”


  1. 1 Edouard Azoulay
    December 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve been to New York City many times on business, I had never heard of this place. The photos looked good and it was close to where I was staying. I decided to give it a try… Ou la la, it looks even better than the photo, the food is excellent and so are the prices!

    It is indeed “a precious hidden jewel in Manhattan,” as the reviewer says above. Having gone there with a couple of friends, having tasted their offerings, having experienced the friendly service, I will most certainly come back and tell everyone about it! This “hidden jewel” deserves to become unhiddden!

    Je retournerai,
    Edouard

    Like

  2. 2 Margaretta
    December 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Best couscous and best humus I ever had!! Very well priced. When I mentioned Darna to some friends, they had never heard of it. How’s it possible? How can a restaurant this good, so reasonably priced, be so unknown?!?

    Like


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