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Nov 5, 2001 02:53 PM

Restaurant like Merrakesh

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Does anyone know of any restaurants in the DC metro area (including MD and VA) that are similar to Merrakesh? I'm looking for a place to take my family that offers the same type of outing. A place that makes you feel as though you are in another place, or that your meal is more than food, but an experience. If anyone could help me out I would be much obliged.

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    Geoff Laredo

    Well, Marrakesh is its own special experience, but I also really like Taste of Casablanca in Arlington, on Washington at Wilson Blvd. This is a much smaller space, and I believe there's still some Oriental Dancing (is this the appropriate term now folks?) on Friday and Saturday nights.

    I've been on Saturday night and weekday nights; actually prefer the quieter atmosphere of the weekday. Was just there on Thursday with my wife, and we chose to not go for the whole ball of wax food-wise. Still, we each had a soup/salad to start, shared a bastilla, shared a tagine, drank lots of their mint tea which I love so much, and passed up dessert. Total bill before tip was $40 and this was way way ample food for two, sharing notwithstanding. Service was friendly and understated, and I've always loved the food. GO.

    1. If you're ever in the Marland 'burbs, and you like Indian food, then I've got the place for you...

      In the 4800 block of Boiling Brook Parkway in Rockville is a '60's style strip-mall anchored by Katz's Kosher Supermarket. In that mall is a non-descript Indian restaurant. I've forgotten the name, but maybe you can find it on

      Upon entering, you'll notice that the restaurant is one large room with sectional seating on sofas, chairs, etc., all with different patterned upholstry. There are mismatched coffee tables disbursed among them. There are Indian decorations everywhere. There are tapestries hanging from the walls. Needless to say, it ends up looking like a college dormroom in the '70s and makes quite an impression.

      You are greeted by a mature Indian gentleman, who kneels before you and explains that you will be dining in the manner of the Indian country-side, and that the meal is fixed-price for several courses. I don't remember the price, but it was reasonable. I believe they offered a full bar, wine, or Taj Mahal and Kingfisher beer in large bottles.

      You begin with a ritual hand washing. The first course was a sampling of three crisp salads (eggplant, carrot and cucumber) and soft bread to eat them with. Each was very fresh, well seasoned and perfectly enjoyable. The next course was the best Tandoori whole chicken I have ever had. It was so moist, I almost asked to see how it was cooked. The next course was a curry sampling that was good, but a bit mild for my taste. That was followed by fresh fruit. Coffee and dessert was to come next, but the time between courses was so long that my wife and I ran out of things to talk about, so we simply asked for the check.

      What's so special about that, you ask? To begin, I believe we may have been some of the only non-Indians in the restaurant that evening. They had all come to dine, as we had, but more importantly, they had come to appreciate the belly-dancing that began about 9PM. After that, a large movie screen was lowered and Indian rock videos were shown non-stop. The music grew louder, and although I'm not certain, I quite suspect that an amazing party broke out after we left.

      I vowed to return with more time and more friends.

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        Pablo Naruda

        The Indian restaurant on Boiling Brook Parkway is called MEM SAHIB and the Prix Fixe Dinner is $ 22 excluding tax and tip. The buffet lunch (ex saturday) is $ 6.95 but there is no belly dancing.

        Happy dining.