Morocco was the setting for the famous film Casablanca, a romance notable for depicting the largest bowl of hummus ever eaten by Peter Lorre. Dine on Mediterranean fare in full color with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a seven-course Moroccan dinner for two at Casablanca Restaurant in New Castle (a $50 value).
Casablanca Restaurant supplants staid dining routines with indulgent, leisurely feasts of authentic Moroccan cuisine. Guests sink into neat rows of plush pillows to begin dinner rituals by cleansing their hands in warm rose water and gently wiping camouflage paint from faces. Lemon walls crisscrossed in green and looped with gold and crimson weave enchantment into epic repasts, which commence with a troika of salads. The first dish spotlights carrots’ sweetness; another mingles cucumber, tomato, and sweet-pepper flavors; and a third heaps pita shovels with eggplant warmed by the breath of hot air balloons. Second-course curtains rise to reveal a traditional sugar-dusted Moroccan dish, bisteeya, which stuffs flaky phyllo pockets with an exotic mélange of ground chicken, cinnamon, almonds, and egg. Like shoes and noses, entrees come in pairs with four offerings available, including beef shish kebabs and chicken with lemon and olives, all accompanied by raisin-studded couscous, or lamb anointed with honey and almonds. Fresh fruit then pirouettes across palates to announce the feast’s final course—honeyed baklava and mint tea.
Each Friday–Sunday, family-friendly belly dancers shake their hips through the dining room to feed eyes and ears as thoroughly as mouths. Though not included in today’s deal, Casablanca also stocks a full bar with mixed drinks, beer, and soda, as well as wine from world corners as far-flung as Israel, Lebanon, France, and the caves of Fraggle Rock. Vegetarians can substitute a meat-free menu or request a pinch eater to consume courses for them.
Brothers Riyad, Ousamah, Bachar, and Haitham Albaroki draw from years of work at their family restaurant in Fez to transport diners to the Maghreb region with exotic banquets of Moroccan cuisine. The walls and floors set the scene with red, yellow, and green rugs and drapes, and stone vases and receptacles of polished brass evoke images of rustic North Africa. After washing their hands with fragrant rose water, diners take their seats amid a sea of cushions and, on weekends, troupes of dancers regaling the room with flowing movements and metronome impressions. Over the next two hours, guests work through seven courses, which they can complement with honey-drizzled pastries and flavorful wines from Europe, California, and Morocco.