Saturday, April 15, 2006

Middle Eastern

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Cafe Mogador [101 St. Mark's Pl. (bet. 1st Ave. and Ave. A) 212-677-2226]
A worthy rival to Zerza, Cafe Mogador offers East Village diners another excellent option for Moroccan food. Start off with an order of the Mixed Platter, which consists of a variety of different Middle Eastern spreads and is a great appetizer to share among friends. I would then recommend the lamb cous cous, which features some succulent meat and vegetables. Finish off your meal by relaxing with an order of the sweet Moroccan tea.

Zerza [304 E. 6th St (bet. 1st and 2nd Aves.) 212-529-8250]
Lovely service and great food make this East Village Moroccan restaurant a great place to try something different. The atmosphere, which includes music and sometimes belly dancing, lends an air of authenticity to the proceedings. As for the food, there are a couple of good appetizers to try. Depending on your tastes, I would recommend the extremely sweet Saganaki (fried Feta cheese with pure honey) or the Marinated Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese. For my main course, I was desperate for some cous cous, so I ordered the lamb variety. It was excellent. The lamb was succulent and the blend of toppings on the cous cous was wonderful enough to make sure that I cleaned my plate. The tagine was good as well. Try a red Algerian wine, which is sweet and a fine complement to the food. If you feel like relaxing, top things off with a hookah.

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