Archive for the 'Moroccan Cigars' Category

12
Sep
13

Grill 212


Recently, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Lévana (of the late, lamented, Lévana’s Restaurant fame) at Grill 212 (212 W. 80th Street; New York, NY 47455 – Tel: 212.724.7455) - a quaint little restaurant, with only 14 seats – in the Upper West Side. We started the meal with my favorite soup… Yemenite Beef Soup

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It came with Kubana bread and Hilba Schug. The soup was flavorful, with lots of beef, the Kubana bread – straight from the oven – moist and buttery in taste, the Schug was the perfect spicy complement to it all. We followed it with a juicy, all around perfect, Hamburger and Fries

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We segued into a Falafel, Moroccan Cigars and Fries…

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Again, a complex amalgam of flavors came trough making this platter truly unforgettable. The fries were just crispy enough, the cigars and falafel balls revealed subtle nuances I had never experienced in American eateries. But the pièce de résistance was about to come…

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Molten Chocolate Coke, oozing with all the goodness and sweetness of that superb, melting, burnt amber substance. There were more desserts ranging from chocolate cake to baklava and more; each unforgettable, each a tribute to a king’s palate!

I went back for lunch, this past Tuesday. I ordered their Lamb Shish Kebob and the Kubana, while Lévana ordered Pargiot;  the portions were large enough not only to fill me up, but I took home enough leftovers to feel filled up at dinnertime. And the Elephant cookies – that I took home – were undescribable delicious, of course!

The place is small and unpretentious, the presentation could use a few pointers, but the taste…  ahhh, the taste… more than makes up for those perceived shortcomings.

I guess I’ll just have to keep going back again and again…

CS

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




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