517 South Leithgow St.
I’ve seen B-list horror movies that begin like this: a couple eschews the bustling main street—in our case, South Street—for an empty side street with nothing but a seemingly deserted restaurant at the end. As they approach the front door of said restaurant, the common doorknob is nowhere to be seen. Instead, in its place is an ornate, old-fashioned knocker and two doorbells off to the side. They ring the doorbell. Nothing. They lightly use the knocker. Nothing.
Thankfully, the ’80s horror flick similarities end here, as a group of more knowledgeable diners laugh at our puzzled faces and pound the knocker. A smiling older woman then appears in the doorway… only to ask which party we were and then kindly let us down, saying that all tables are reserved. As we walk away thinking that we have missed out on quite the dining experience, the woman yells after us, saying that a party of two has just cancelled their reservations. Was that too convenient, or are we damn lucky? I like to answer with "damn lucky."
As my eyes adjust to the dimly lit interior, I instantly know from the traditional (or what I assume is traditional) Moroccan dining set-up of couches overflowing with pillows and tables of giant gold or silver (it was too dark to tell) platters that this restaurant will plenty make up for all my past New York nights cuddled up with Chinese takeout.
A Moroccan waiter dressed in, again, traditional garb hands you their drink menu, and I suggest you choose wisely, as this will be one of the only two choices you will be allowed to make while here. After pouring water over your hands, presumably to soothe your anal-retentive side since you will be using your fingers to do everything except chew, out comes the first course of this prix-fixe seven-course meal (you won’t feel too gluttonous—each course is not that large), a "salad" made up of cucumbers, a tomato sauce, and carrots that serves as a dip for your bread. I could go through the texture, smell, and taste of each dish, but that would ruin the surprise, now, wouldn’t it? All I’ll say is that I was deeply saddened when the second course came to an abrupt end, Danny and I practically staring each other down over the last piece, and that your second and last choices of the evening will be between lamb drizzled with honey and topped with slivered almonds (which seem to be present in every course) and shish kebabs. Going with the lamb, Danny pouted at our choice for a good 5 minutes when he saw the kebabs, while I thoroughly enjoyed the somewhat fatty pieces—and I absolutely abhor fatty meats, which should tell you how delicious it was.
Possibly the second best part of the evening came at the end, when we were presented with a $67 check for this delectable barrage of food, a Miller Lite for him, and a White Russian for me—if only New York restaurants were so divine for such a reasonable price.