Under the gentle light of curvaceous sconces, Tangier Restaurant and Bar's guests can indulge their taste buds with an assortment of Moroccan-inspired tapas and entrees from the menu. In addition to plating fresh pita bread and traditional Moroccan–style lamb sausage, the cooks also stir chickpeas, onions, and raisins into steaming orders of couscous or glaze chicken with a homemade harissa sauce made from hot peppers. To accompany meals, belly dancers occasionally perform in the dining room, traveling between diners' tables with the controlled, fluid grace of an Olympian swimming in a lap pool of maple syrup.
Your tongue won't be the only sensory organ experiencing Morocco, though. The restaurant's walls are decorated with murals of the Moroccan landscape and dotted with pottery and artwork, and Moroccan music wafts through the air like hookah smoke. After sinking like a sultan into Taste of Morocco's lush maroon-and-gold pillows and chairs, warm up the palate with some mint tea before diving into Taste of Morocco's most popular treat: bastilla, a thin pastry of phyllo dough stuffed with a variety of ingredients. The chicken bastilla is marinated and stuffed with almonds, parsley, and onions, all topped with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon. The vegetarian bastilla, on the other hand, mixes stewed vegetables with parsley, cilantro, onions, almonds, and Moroccan spices. A small bastilla for two is $15.99, while a large bastilla for eight is $49.99.
Taste of Morocco’s vibrant character spans from the flavorful cuisine that tops the dining room's linen-covered tables to the belly dancers who swivel and sashay around guests seated in turquoise chairs. In the kitchen of the cozy neighborhood eatery, chefs dress morsels of chicken, lamb, and veggies in tagines and couscous dishes. Multicourse feasts are also available, conveniently portioned for two. The belly dancers add extra spice to the dining experience on weekends, displaying feats of abdominal coordination while diners' stomachs contentedly perform the digestion fox trot.
Growing up in Casablanca exposed Driss Zahidi to French, Mediterranean, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. As the oldest of five children, he regularly helped his mother in the kitchen, and began working as a line cook in high school. Considering his upbringing, it would seem that Driss's natural next step would be to become the award-winning chef and restaurateur that he is today. But the reality is a bit more unexpected.
After earning a master's in physics, Driss spent a year as a chemical engineer in France, chemically engineering things in a place of chemical engineering. Cooking remained his passion, though, so when he'd clock out at the lab, he'd head to local restaurants to hone his chops making meals. He then decided to abandon his engineering career to court the food world full time, and eventually came to America where he co-founded two critically acclaimed restaurants before opening Le Mediterranean Bistro.
Driss has still never set food in a culinary school, but that doesn't change the fact that he is applauded for his deft take on upscale French cuisine. After one look at his artful, sculptural dishes and a taste of his pistachio-crusted lamb or Moroccan Pastilla, it's clear that Driss's background in chemistry has served his cooking just fine.