We went about this all wrong. We stopped by Marrakech on a whim recently, hungry after shopping. Basically, we were looking for a quick bite to eat. What were we thinking?
Marrakech is a good dinner or party spot, but a meal there is an undertaking. There were many courses and much ritual. Our quick little bite turned into 90 minutes, and that was with us rushing and taking most of our food to go.
First, the waiter comes out with a metal bowl and pitcher of warm water, which he pours so you can wash your hands. There are no utensils here, so this is important.
The first course was a kind of salad plate with sliced vegetables – not very filling, but we were just getting started. Next was a kind of sweet, sticky pastry made with chicken, basically a less sweet baklava with meat. It came in a big loaf, filled with mild spices (Cumin? Paprika? I couldn’t quite tell).
Then, our bellies already full, our main courses arrived. I had the paprika hare. I love rabbit meat. So cute, so tasty. The chubby little things are like the ducks of the small mammal world, rich and fatty. The meet was dripping in mild red sauce, the paprika baked through and through. Joy had the honey lamb. I’m a big fan of the dishes that combine sweet and salty, and this fit the bill. First the sweet would hit you, then the salty as the soft, tender meat melted in your mouth.
The only problem was that we had to keep asking for bread to wipe up these wonderful spices. I can’t quite describe the bread – almost like a soft French bread with seeds. It was great, but they brought it out in really small portions. I like spicy food, but this stuff was so flavorful it was actually nice to cut the intensity with some starch.
But there was only so much we could eat. Just as we were going to ask for boxes, the belly-dancing show started. It was still early evening on a Saturday, but the place was quickly getting packed. Our long blond-haired surfer-looking waiter seemed to know the huge party of about a dozen people sitting near us – from the looks of them, they were related to him – and he also knew the belly dancers. So when the dancing started, they all went crazy. Little kids were running around, the music got loud… it was a fun scene.
Unfortunately, we had a lot to do that weekend. So we piled our food in boxes for what would turn out to be two more meals. Then we headed out, vowing to return with more people and an entire evening to spend.
1833 Fulton Avenue
5:30 to 10 pm, Tues-Sun