Sunday, February 05, 2006

Marrakesh

On Saturday night a group of 8 of us went out to dinner to celebrate J-lo's 29th birthday for the Xth time. We went to the Moroccan restaurant Marrakesh. I had been there once before about 7 years earlier. The last time I had been, the group I was with had a good time. Everything is served family style and you eat with your hands from one large plate. I'll talk more about the food in a minute.

To start, you knock on the door to get in...kinda cool. The staff are all in what I gather to be traditional garb. You sit on bench/couches, pillows and eat from low tables. Dinner here is seven courses. The meal was about $29 per person and with the 7 bottles of wine, tax and tip, it was $70/person. Yikes, but for nearly three hours, good food, an alright belly dancer and really good times with good friends, it was well worth it!

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This was the first course. It was three "dips." From the top, 12 o' clock position are carrots with a corriander sauce, they were perfectly tender and sweet. Next to the right was this cucumber, bell pepper salad and the last one was an eggplant tomato sauce dip. You eat this with a large piece of bread, you take a piece of the bread, dip or scoop up and eat. My favorites were the Carrots and the Cucumbers.

This is a really interesting dish. That is a flaky pastry covering chicken, onions, spices, egg and yes, it is covered with powered sugar with a little cinnamon. Who knew! Very tasty.

I think this was in fact the #1 favorite of the night. I've already found a few recipes online that I'm going to see if I can mimic and recreate for home. Roast chicken with lemon and olives. It was perfect. PERFECT! Tender, juicy, crispy, the olives and lemons. The only problems was that you wanted to eat faster, but it was sooo hot you'd burn your fingers!!!

This was the fourth course. This is the one course I took only a taste of and didn't participate further. It was a tagine of lamb with honey and almonds. It just reminded me that I don't like lamb. The first bite was sooo very lamby, I thought maybe a second bite wouldn't be, but oh it was...just not a flavor I like....moving on. This is something that has been proven over and over in the past few years as I've tried lamb at various places and each time just dont' like it...the only place I thought it was acceptable, but again only had a bite, Ireland.

This is the only course where you get a utensil...couscous with some stuff and squash. The couscous was very tasty. The squash on top was fine, but as we discussed, would have been better with some butter, salt and pepper....but that probably would be more authentic to WI, and not particularly Northern Africa.

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After the couscous, we got a basket of fruit and nuts, (course 6) and then some baklava (course 7). The final bit the restaurant leaves you with is some tasty, sweet Morroccan Mint Tea. I really liked it at first, but after about 1/2 a glass, I started to taste DC water, so I stopped.

It was a great night and the food was very tasty. 7 courses, a ho-hum belly dancer, nearly 3 hours of fun. Again, a very good evening!!!


Marrakesh
617 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.393.9393
Fax: 202.737.3737
www.marrakesh.us
reservations required


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9 comments:

Edna said...

Moroccan food is always a hit in my house. In fact, any African food is a hit. I think Moroccan, Ethiopian and others could be the next big thing food-wise to hit the US after the Asian food sweep. Don't get my wrong, I love Asian food and have traveled to Thailand and Cambodia just for the food but there is something yummy about African curries that make my mouth water. Congrats on being openminded. Most Americans greet Moroccan with distrust as you need to eat with your hands and it put people off. (Not, Edna - of course!)

How was wine with the food? I don't normally think of Moroccan food being eaten with wine. What region was it from? I often order the mango juice or other tropical fruit jucies when eating African food.

What are you tasting?,
Edna

ScottE. said...

The food is great and I personally am trying to experience more foods. I've made a pretty tasty tagine chicken at home! It's in the recipe link on the right of the main page.

As for the wine, I didn't have any--sadly I'm abstaining from alcohol, against my own free will at this point--damn doctors--so I'll let someone else who attended dinner comment on the wine and how it paired with the food. I did have three bottles of sparkling mineral water with lime and it was tastee!

Lady Brandenburg said...

Glad you had fun!

Dancer in DC said...

I chose this place, mostly because I'd heard ScottE and friends in grad school rave about it, and just never had the opportunity to go myself. So this was my big birthday splurge.

The food was all very good, but the chicken was by far the best. It was completely melt-in-your-mouth, a lot of depth in the flavor.

The wine was...OK. Definitely nothing special. Were I to go again, I'd probably just order 1 drink, and have water otherwise.

Stef said...

Sounds fabulous! I've never been there, but I'd love to try out the whole experience sometime.

I do have a vague memory that one of the best meals I've ever eaten (although it was lamb) was a traditional Moroccan lunch with my family when we did a day-trip to Morocco from where we were staying in Portugal. I love being able to say that I went to Africa for lunch! :-)

Brunette said...

Sounds marvelous- I've wanted to try that place!

Chilefire said...

I have been to Marrakesh several times - I like it though you have now had the only menu they has been made for the last 15 years. The chicken is the best, and the egg and chicken pastry is really neat. It would be nice if they varied the menu a bit. It would bring people like me back a bit more often. We generally take visitors there for the belly dancing, and the whole experience which is pretty great.
Skipping the wine is more authentic! Morocco is a Muslim country - alchol is not generally served with meals... or err.. ever, I guess. bummer.

Joyous said...

We had both red and white wine. The white was crisp and light, and the red was pretty non-confrontational. Neither were impressive. Both Morrocan.

Morocco Property said...

Hi,
Very "stomach-touching" pictures. I just would like to say some words about sweets.
Sweets play a very important role in the Moroccan diet. Every household has a supply of homemade sweet desserts made from almonds, honey, and other ingredients. Mint tea is served with every meal in Morocco. It is sweetened while it is still in the pot.