A perfect table setting requires pristine linens and polished cutlery, except at off-Broadway restaurants, where waiters set every table in postapocalyptic Vienna. Avoid avant-garde eating with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Moroccan fare for dinner at Cafe Morocco.
For more than 27 years, Cafe Morocco has piled plates high with traditional flavor cooked into everything from kebabs to falafel. Diners can lift the curtain on a culinary Act I with a hearty helping of hummus and baba gannouj ($6.45) before mouth-hugging the casablanca lamb kebab, known for always having Paris and a sweet tang ($15.95). Vegetarian guests find plenty to nosh, including the veggie curry crafted with a blend of italian squash ($11.95) and the musaka, which, like the least reliable of buildings, is built upon a foundation of eggplant ($12.95). Meat fanatics can pack maws with chicken couscous maftool ($13.95) or a charbroiled beef kebab ($14.95).
With more than two decades in business, Cafe Morocco has put in the practice and hard work for its traditional Mediterranean cuisine to earn a Very Good to Excellent rating from Zagat. While pita triangles sop up hummus and tabbouleh, ceiling fans circulate the savory aroma of vegetarian couscous filled with red potatoes and italian squash, and chicken kebabs marinated overnight in potent moroccan spices. The decor complements the exotic flavors with North African accents, such as a colorful fabric trail hanging from the ceiling and turret-shaped outlines framing the windows and kitchen. Patrons can also sip on a cup of sage tea from a metal kettle surrounded by walls covered with painted plates, gilded antique weapons, and gilded antique permits for carrying a dagger.