Though the recipes and culinary inspiration stem from faraway northwestern Africa, Casablanca Moroccan Cuisine Cafe make its cuisine accessible to the tastes of North America. The Reader lauded this commitment by claiming, "everything is appealingly simple: roasted meat with herbs [and] spices such as cumin, chili powder and cilantro." This description succinctly summarizes a variety of the menu's traditional Moroccan dishes, including tagines brimming with stews of vegetables and slow-cooked lamb, and platefuls of hearty couscous. However, the chefs also demonstrate a willingness to make their food more familiar by offering to sandwich falafel and shawarma between pieces of ciabatta bread instead of pita, and by grilling burgers over a pile of smoldering baseball cards.
Housing their business in a new salon, the owners of NT Nails, take cleanliness seriously. "NT Nails uses disposable files, buffers, and pedicure sponges. We use hospital-grade autoclaves to sterilize our equipment," the owner explained during an interview with Midtowncrossing.com. They also line pedicure tubs with disposable liners to ensure a hygienic experience and protect skin from harsh cleaning chemicals. After buffing nails to perfection, they coat them with a polish. Their waxing sessions are just as meticulous, rooting out each hair from its follicle, instead of hammering it back in with a peen hammer, to leave skin smooth and soft.
Growing up in a region of Morocco known for its spice blends, Moussa Drissi first started cooking (with the help of his mother and sisters) at age 11. By 16, he was working with a restaurateur uncle, heading into nearby forests to gather fresh thyme, mint, and sage. He mastered both Moroccan and Northern Italian cuisine before coming to the United States in 1999, where he honed his restaurant chops and worked in catering with Oprah's former personal chef, Art Smith.
Drissi wants to introduce his guests to the hallmarks of Mediterranean cuisine: the saffron, cumin, and ginger, and the savory dishes spiked with apricots, dates, figs, and raisins. Everything's made from scratch in the kitchen, starting with the base components, such as preserved lemons, aged balsamic vinegar, and argan oil. Influences from around the Mediterranean combine with moroccan flavors; the kitchen slow cooks lamb, beef, and veggie tagines in clay pots, slice Black Angus steak thin for gyro platters, and grill salmon fillets with fresh herbs and crushed peppers. There's also a selection of wraps and paninis, including a Moroccan-style cheeseburger with marinated ground beef and a gyro pita wrap that yells "opa!" when you pick it up.