Chef “Ben” Benameur’s culinary career began humbly: he learned to cook alongside his mother while growing up in Morocco. Once he moved to Los Angeles and began working as a caterer, his sophisticated accessorization of homespun cooking caught the attention of award-winning actor Ryan Gosling—who was so taken with the food that he initiated a partnership that would culminate in Tagine. Today’s Reserve selection invites you and a guest to try simple but celeb-approved food with a three-course dinner for two or four. For each person, dinner includes:
- Chef’s selection of Moroccan mezze
- Roasted lamb: Oven-roasted foreshank, seasonal vegetables
- Chocolate soup: Vanilla and caramel ice cream, baklava
- Glass of Champagne: Heidsieck Monopole “blue top”, Epernay, France NV<p>
In a 2006 review, the Los Angeles Times said that “at Tagine, Chef Benameur subtly varies his spicing from dish to dish and skillfully weaves flavors through the set meal with a light, sure hand.” Diners get to experience that subtle variation straight off with a chef’s selection of traditional mezze, or appetizers. Here, tartar of cucumber and tomato with lemon sorbet awaken palates, while house-made hummus, sauteed eggplants, marinated olives, and berbere bread provide a comforting touch. The main course, roasted lamb, is flavored with seven different Moroccan spices, although Chef Benameur also looks to the flavors of his new home by finishing dishes with sauteed seasonal vegetables straight from farmers markets. The most unusual dish may be the final one: a chocolate dessert soup. A scoop of homespun vanilla and caramel ice cream and slice of baklava turn the course into a study of contrasting temperatures and textures. All meals are complemented with a glass of Heidsieck Monopole “blue top” champagne, Epernay, France NV.
Tagine’s dining room makes leaning back in comfort—or in toward a date—practically mandatory. Pillows line velvety banquettes, and jazz music plays softly as candles and dangling Edison bulbs toss soft shadows across the olive walls, where black-and-white photographs hang and admire themselves in the wood-framed mirrors.