Baraka cafe: still a really hidden gem
- black bean can Nov 5, 2008 07:28 PM
It's hard to tell that they're open from the outside. At least there's a sign now.
Vegetarian platter du jour. I'm not veg, but this was fantastic. you must like garlic though. Very smoky eggplant.
ricotta mushroom ravioli: in mushroom broth with more mushrooms, thyme, leek. subtle. nice.
chocolate cake: dense, rich, cake itself wasn't too sweet. maybe the best bargain dessert I've seen at $5.50. Mrs. black bean thinks it totally blows away anything from finale.
turkish coffee... rose water and cardamom and probably why I'm WIDE AWAKE RIGHT NOW....
I appreciate that there isn't pressure to turn the tables over, we were able to take our time.
The torta bastilla? w/ squab is really worth trying. It requires a few days notice..maybe next time.
OH! I adore Baraka. On a hot night (or not so hot as I would like to drink some now) order a pitcher of the rose petal lemonade. And then you will order another one.
I love Baraka Cafe also and snuck in for lunch today with a fellow 'hound. Their lunch specials are insanely cheap - $4.95 gets you albacore tuna served Tunisian style with scallions, capers, olives, cilantro, Italian parsley, lemon juice & olive oil, tossed with harissa served on hand-stretched, homemade flat Berber bread with greens, tomatoes & onion, tossed in black caraway & mustard vinaigrette.
Ok, so the serving is sort of skimpy, but add a bowl of soup for $1.95 and that's quite a meal - their flavorings are so complex and interesting - I kinda want some more.
That lemonade was still just as good, but I opted for the rather tasty Turkish Coffee (ok, so it wasn't as good as other versions I've had closer to Istanbul, but how can I say a mean thing about the kindly grandmother that made it for me?).
Anyway, this has definitely prompted me to go back for a dinner sometime soon - thanks for the write up!
I checked out the Baraka Cafe this weekend. The lemonade with the rose petals and fresh mint was indeed great. The cous cous was a bit bland but good. The eggplant dish (don't remember the name) was also good. I really like the chicken sandwich and fries w/fresh parsley. Amazingly, the Brazilian chef ran the whole restaurant by himself from waiting on tables, cooking and cleaning.
I second the rose petal lemonade and the fabulous chocolate dessert - it does beat any other kind of dessert options in the area!
Of course you must have the lemonade! First time I went in for lunch. I was so pleasantly surprised. The decor is a little dated and gaudy, but the feeling is quaint and really fosters enjoyment of the company-- even bordering on a communal feel which is popping up in cities like Toronto. $4.95 for the open face tuna sandwich is a great deal but it didn't (personally) wow me. Perhaps it was because I had already been wowed by the Mediterranean cheese plate (Jbinet with Berber Karmous) paired with savory hand-stretched berber bread (Zaatar Coca .)
It should be mentioned that it is a tiny place and I've read horror stories about reservations. My best advice is to go at an off-peak time. Early/late lunch and weeknight dinners.
Also, for first time visitors, its a little hard to find. Tinay and muted, in an already quiet and unassuming strip. Truly, a hidden gem.