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Mar 9, 1999 01:11 PM

Jersey City: Hurrah for La Conquita; Casablanca?

  • s

Thanks and abrazos to Angela, who told me about La Conquita; I found it last night after some effort (for anyone who may want to follow in my footsteps, it's at Grove and Bay, a block north of the Grove St. PATH station at Newark Ave.), and as soon as I entered, the misery induced by the windy, bitterly cold walk dropped away and I felt the happiness that comes of knowing you're in a sanctuary of great food. As per Angela's enticing suggestion, I ordered the pernil asado (and asked for some lime to squeeze on it), and as soon as I had the first mouthful I was in a state of bliss. It may be the best roast pork I've had; it's certainly way up there, and the yellow rice and beans kept it good company. I finished with a cup of excellent cafe con leche and headed out into the night, which no longer seemed so cold.

While I was there, I looked around for Tania's, which was said to be "roughly across the street," and didn't see it; what I did see, cattycorner across the same intersection, was a Moroccan joint, Casablanca. Does anyone know 1) if this has taken Tania's place, and 2) how the food is? Of course I could try it myself, but 1) I'm a little dubious as to how good tajines could be for $6.25, or bastela [sic -- this is a new variation to me] for $5.50, and 2) it's going to be very hard for me to visit that corner and not head straight into La Conquita.

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  1. Ate at Casablanca yesterday. Superb couscous: fluffy,
    light grains porbaby steamed in a couscousiere, with
    succulent turmeric tinged chicken, onions, raisins and
    chick peas. They are from Tetuan and boast, along with
    people from Fez, of having the authentic bastilla,
    which must be requested at least a day or two in
    advance. Lamb tajine was equally superb. Tea was sweet
    and with oragne blossom water. Their bissara soup,
    unlike the meringue texture of the Egyptian dish, is
    like a cumin scented split pea soup. A must.

    1. Tania's is alive and well at 348 Grove. I should be
      the last one to say this having walked past the
      Pakistani Tea House a bunch of times, but open your
      eyes (g)! If you're watching your waistline, you're
      probably better off at La Conquita's though.

      On your recommendation, I checked out La Conquita and
      had the pork along with a guanabana. It was sooo
      delicious. The beans were good, but numero uno on my
      list is still Casa Garcia, further up Newark Ave. The
      cheese empanada was unlike any I've had before, in a
      good good way. Stopped at that West African (?) bakery
      a block east on Grove for dessert. Next time you're
      around there, you MUST visit.

      Next stop Casablanca.

      3 Replies
      1. re: glenn


        Yeah, I found Tania's a while back (and felt suitably idiotic -- if it had been a snake...) and had a very nice breaded chicken cutlet. I dunno if I'd call La Conquita easier on the waistline, though! A desire to keep my svelte figure is one of the few things that keeps me from going there more often. Next time I'll definitely try the empanada (unless that was at Casa Garcia, which I have yet to visit? your syntax was a trifle opaque).

        I've been to Casablanca a couple of times and may well go back tonight. First time I had the lamb couscous, which was superb -- best I've had in years. The next night I went back and had lamb tajine, whcih was probably a mistake; it was excellent, but I was a little lambed out, and would have done better to order, say, chicken instead. At any rate, next time I'm going to try the "spaghetti al Maghrib" -- call me weird, but I'm a sucker for spaghetti in all its manifold varieties -- I used to order the spaghetti kima at Uncle George's in Astoria (back when I still went there), and I love Ethiopian spaghetti with berbere sauce, so I can't wait to find out what Moroccan spaghetti is like.

        1. re: steve d.

          "and I love Ethiopian spaghetti with berbere sauce, so I can't wait to find out what Moroccan spaghetti is like"

          From berbere to Berber...

          1. re: steve d.

            Sorry for being "opaque". English is my 2nd language.
            I don't have a first one (g).

            The cheese empanada at La Conquita was unlike any other
            I've ever had. Exquisite! However, as good as the
            beans were at La Conquita, it's hard to top Casa
            Garcia's. Hope that clarifies things.

        2. went to casablanca last night after a stroll around the
          Hamilton Park neighborhood (my first, and definitely
          not my last, visit to Jersey City). The food at
          Casablanca was incredible. We had chicken tajine, which
          was served in a olive-ladden, rather than sweet, broth,
          and the lamb couscous. Both were simply fantastic. But
          truly one of the best foods I've ever eaten was the
          carrot zaalouk appetizer. anyone who goes to Casablance
          must try this delight. The Moroccan tea and the sherbet
          was great, too.