Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tasty Moroccan in New York's East Village

Last weekend Christopher and I headed down to New York City to see Spring Awakening before it closes on the 18th, and naturally we had to go somewhere fun for lunch. He suggested we go to a Moroccan restaurant in the East Village, Cafe Mogador, somewhere he had dined at before and very much enjoyed.

After a little confusion with which way to turn on St. Mark's, we found the place nestled amongst a bunch of other cute and eclectic looking restaurants and shops. The place was hopping at 11:30am on a Saturday morning, more than likely thanks to it's brunch menu. The crowd was an interesting mix, mostly people in their late 20s, some hipster-types, a few middle-aged couples...a fun crowd.

We all started out with a round of Moroccan iced tea, which is simply sweetened mint tea- delicious. When I was in Morocco my host family made the hot version all the time and it was incredible. To accompany these we got a hummus platter with pita that seemed hot from the oven. We were all a fan - I like when there is oil in the middle, and in this case chickpeas scattered about the plate. The waitress also brought us extra pita free of charge.
For my main dish I chose the Bastilla, what I thought was the most interesting thing on the menu. The menu describes it as 'layers of crispy filo pastry filled with chicken, egg, almonds, an exotic blend of herbs and spices.' It was absolutely delicious - a curiously sweet but savory dish topped with powdered sugar. A side salad with beets and red onions accompanied it.

A friend ordered the Mixed platter, which normally comes with tabouli, hummus, babaganoush, and salad. She substituted the tabouli with roasted eggplant, which I think was a great decision. Everything on the platter looked fresh and delicious. Two others got the falafel plate with salad and tahini - a nice-sized portion of falafel nicely fried and not too greasy with a light and refreshing yogurt dipping sauce. The 5th person in our party got the chicken cous-cous, which was served alongside chickpeas, raisins, and vegetables. It came with a nice piece of chicken on the bone, and though I didn't try it it certainly smelled wonderful.

There are so many other items on their menu I wanted to try, including their tagines, meat grill items, and Moroccan-themed brunch items. With reasonable prices, an upbeat atmosphere, great service, and a fun location, I can't wait to eat here again next time I'm in New York and craving Moroccan!

Café Mogador on Urbanspoon

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