longish report on Bakara Cafe -- yum!
After checking with folks here on this board, boyfriend and I went to the Bakara Cafe in Central Square (80 1/2 Pearl Street). We arrived at 6 PM on Friday and had to wait outside for a moment while they opened up (although the sign said it opened at 5:30; not everyone is as time conscious as us I suppose!). We were the only ones in the tiny dining room until about 7 when lots of people started coming in. Our waitress was very sweet and helpful. I ordered the rosewater lemonade right away. It was interesting and a little weird but a fun choice. We ordered a salad with roasted chickpeas to start which was wonderful. ($4.95) Then we ordered the crab cakes appetizer special ($9), and the couscous with brochettes ($12?). The crab cakes were amazing, with this wonderful, slightly tart/salty red sauce. The couscous was very nice too, although pretty much the same dish I've had many times before. The waitress also brought us out some zataar crackers. We ordered the chocolate cake for dessert although we were pretty full. It was a large molded chocolate moussey thing with mango garnishes, kinda hard to describe, with an undertone of some mysterious spice that our waitress said the chef kept secret. She said customers had brought scraps of paper with their guesses written on it and the chef will look at the guess and only say yes or no. My guess is it is black pepper but I didn't talk to the chef. It was a good finish to the dinner.
Overall it was a great eating experience: we found the food really interesting, some flavor combinations that you normally wouldn't think of but that taste great. The atmosphere was really romantic and exotic, and the prices were great. I think I'd rather eat here than many other higher priced "fancier" places just because the food was so interesting.