I love ethnic food, especially from my native Middle-Eastern or North African countries. Although I live in New York City, a great majority of Arabic food is served out of food carts. Don’t get me wrong, these food carts are great but only offer fan favorites like “Kabob” or “Lamb Gyro”. I want something different, traditional, and full of flavor. I read about Cafe Mogador reviews in Manhattan and it serves authentic Morrocan fare. I had to try it out.
Cafe Mogador has a lot of charm with very rustic type feel. Inside you will be seated on a wooden tables designed with moroccan style prints. Through the restaurant you’ll find small tea pots or porcelain tagine’s adorned as decoration. On the wall are old photos of possibly the original owner when they were in Morocco.
We started with a traditional hummus plate that is served at most Arabic restaurants. This plate had hummus, baba ghanoush and a third item called “Matbucha” ( مطبوخة). Matbucha is a tomato salad with roasted peppers. It was a great third addition. In the back you will see a small white bowl with what is called “Harissa”. Harissa is a chili pepper paste and its spicy!!!! I found this to go great with everything we ate, even when dipped with bread alone it tasted great. It will burn through your nostrils so be prepared lol
Here take another look
Here comes the main course!
Two of the foods we had were merguez (مرقاز) stage left and Pastilla (بسطيلة) stage right. The merguez plate is very large and can easily serve two people. Prepare to take leftovers home if eating it alone. Merguez is spicy lamb/beef mix sausage stuffed in lamb intestine casing which is grilled. It is full of flavor and the cumin rushes out into your senses. The plate came with couscous and roasted vegetables. My recommendation is merguez is to scoop it with some couscous and add a little bit of harissa sauce on top. The mixture of the peppers and spices will explode in your mouth.
Next you will see the Pastilla on the right all dressed up in powdered sugar and cinnamon. You might assume this is a dessert by the coating of sugar but its not. This is a savory dish with some sweetness from the coating. Pastilla is a meat pie made of crisp phyllo dough stuffed with slow-roasted shredded chicken and toasted almonds. The chicken has very traditional flavors like cumin and pepper which somehow blends well with the crisp dough, sugar, and toasted almonds. I love the crush that the nuts bring to this dish, it really ties it together. Although this is pricy, its worth it!
Last but not least we had dessert. What meal will be complete without having Moroccan Tea! Its similar to other styles of Arabic tea except this is infused with tons of mint. Probably 10x more mint is used than standard Arabic teas. You can taste the infused mint in every sip of the tea. Besides, nothing goes better with tea than a nice slice of Baklava. I must admit the baklava here is not great but its decent. This is not a place you go to for baklava but instead for their amazing food!
Categories: Middle Eastern Food