mourad in soma part two....oh yeah, there's a lot more
And we're back! Half way through our Mourad tasting menu and it looks like we have a ways to go. Though I'm sure we'll be done before closing. Well, pretty sure. The first part of this food adventure seemed to bring out a theme of spicy and seafood as all the previous dishes had some variation of that going for them. Now looks like the home stretch is washing up on dry land for some meat and greens.
I keep thinking so far it's been okay and even if it sucks the rest of the way, maybe they will end on a dessert high note. I've said it before, the whole meal can be blah, but a fabulous dessert can always perk up my interest and look past some of that stuff I'm never gonna eat again. But enough chit chat! Let's dive back in shall we.
This is called "Hen Egg" and there is one under all that green stuff I think were pea shoots or quite possibly just plain old grass, it was hard to tell. This also had ramps (like onions), peas, shaved cheese (parmesan?), some spice blend called baharat and I'm quite positive those little red bits you see off to the side were some form of bacon. You know me, everything's better with bacon, mostly. Probably could have stood some more in here as raw eggs are not totally my thing. Really it is just the slimy texture you get which could apply to anything from raw shellfish to boiled okra. The gooey slipperiness produces a gag reflex I sometimes can not get past. Here it wasn't so bad with all the greenery and pea and bacon bits. Once you mix it all together I could convince my self the yolk was some kind of dressing for this tiny salad. Did I like it? Eh, it had bacon like meat, so I'm giving it a pass as good enough.
Here's where there was a little time passing between plates. To fill it they brought out this dish which to be honest, I don't really remember at all. I'm thinking this was some kind of date filled thing. Not so much a dessert or sweet treat. Kind of like a mildly tasty palate cleanser. Even the SO doesn't remember (rarely does) what this was. It wasn't listed on the menu either so then I guess it doesn't matter what it was or what we thought about since you probably wouldn't get it. I'll just make something up then. This small bite was like a Middle Eastern version of a mini yule log (in summer!) with it's date filling, cylindrical shape and creme fraiche dollops on top. Or maybe this was more like a Moroccan cannoli, take your pick. Either way, an interesting interloper in our menu, but still with in the Middle Eastern theme, so there's that.
Now we have "Lamb" and "Couscous". Those were their menu names and as you can see, actual things we got. Roasted lamb with favas (Hannibal Lecter beans!), wilted (on purpose) lettuce and a cream foam. The couscous came with a splashes of preserved lemon, a scattering of some blossom and roasted nuts I think were pine or pecan. I know I joke about some of these dishes, but this was the best one of the night to me. Tender cured lamb belly, nicely cooked couscous and a little crunch from the nuts. Though we shared the couscous plate we did each get our own lamb and it was a fair sized serving for small plate land. This is a dish I could see having again, which is something you could do as they offer it on the main menu though as separate dishes instead of together. You can get the $24 couscous dish and the $39 lamb dish and just share them and forget how much you are spending and that a box of couscous at the store will only run you a few bucks. JUST FORGET THAT! And try to enjoy the dish you are having.
This is "Tisane", that's an herbal tea with mint and verbena leaves added. Yep, a liquid digestive refresher was part of the tasting menu. That's hot water poured on green leaves and served as a "dish". I just don't know what to say about it, except, we drank it, but they wouldn't give us a hot water refill on it. At least dessert is next.
They offer up two different finishing desserts. First was "Mandarin". An orange colored white chocolate sphere filled with a mandarin cream on a sea of ginger beer. Very pretty looking for sure. When I cracked it open the first thing that came to mind was one of those Cadbury creme eggs with the fake yolk looking centers. This filling was a lot lighter and creamier than that sugar bomb. Mandarin isn't my fave of the fruit flavors but here it paired well with the ginger beer. Definitely a fun, funky little sweet bite.
The other is "Date". The piece underneath the dollop of coffee ice cream looks like a piece of bacon but was date with kaffir lime. Not my fave, mostly since I'm not really into coffee flavor. The date thing was a little sticky and I missed the lime in here. I think the coffee was just so strong it overwhelmed pretty much everything else. The SO really liked, but then they are a coffee and ice cream fiend so they ate the rest of mine.
That was the end of the tasting menu plates, but this being my birthday and all, I was feeling it all ended with more of a sigh than a sugar bang. It's why we decided to pull one of the desserts off the main menu to try. Since our tasting journey was over, they let us pick a dessert to share.
We went all glutton and got the confections combo plate. A nut caramel, sugar cookie, chocolate cookie, chocolate truffle and lemon meringue pie. This are all one bite minis, glad there were two of each as cutting them in half might have been difficult, plus, we aren't usually in the habit of sharing desserts! Honestly, none of these were like wow, that was different. They were all good representations of exactly what you see. No unusual flavor combos and no fancy shapes, just some good ol' mini cookies and candy. After a meal of unique spices and food combos, sometimes it is good to end on a comfort note. And while we weren't bowled over, we still like it enough to make sure we finished every bite.
With that we finished our meal and surprisingly, all those small plates (and dessert addition) filled us up. How often do I say that! It was definitely an intriguing and colorful array of ingredients to be sure. Some hits, some misses, some still wondering, but overall it was I liked enough to be happy with breaking down and going with the tasting menu. I also wanted to note, after a rocky start to the service (much like the food) things did get better in the middle toward the end. Though, when we were ready to pay the bill, it was hard to track someone down, usually it's the other way around and they wanna have pay and leave quickly to turn the table. Not so on this night as we ended up being their nearly 3 hours! We basically closed the place down as it was pretty much empty when we left except for a few folks at the bar.
I guess the SO lucked out this time and I won't be able to blame them for a crappy food choice in making me go with the tasting menu. There were enough high points it was worth it. (though not sure I'd personally pay the $140 cost, but if someone else is then I'm on board, cheap ba****rd that I am). While I won't (can't?) remember most of the dishes, I'll still recall fondly the lamb, couscous and desserts. And with those and the SO, it was a happy-ish birthday dinner.