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Stand-outs at Aziza? [SF]

Going to Aziza after a long absence and the menu has changed. Any recommendations, either revelations or disappointments? Anyone tried the duck confit basteeya?

http://aziza-sf.com/food.html

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  1. the chicken bastilla is absolutely ethereal - i'm disappointed to see that they're doing duck instead, but i'd imagine it's still great.

    the lamb shank is also not to be missed.

    note that both of the above dishes certainly have a sweet component to them (which i happen to love), but others have found them too sweet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: vulber

      A basteeya is traditionally made with that sweeter element, often with pomegranate, dates, etc. and sometimes with powder sugar on top.

      1. re: sugartoof

        Not only that, but basteeya is traditionally made with squab, so duck is much closer to the true flavor than blander chicken.

      2. re: vulber

        Favorite was probably the lamb with strong fennel flavor. The duck confit basteeya was ridiculous, as expected. Also really enjoyed the sardine. The desert was OK but left me wanting more.

      3. We had the duck basteeya about 6 months ago and thought it was fabulous. It was my favorite thing ordered that night. Generous portion too . . . hope you enjoy it!

        9 Replies
        1. re: vday

          They come in all sizes, but a generous size in a basteeya comes closer to a full pie, around 8" in size. Aziza's portion is a bit more modest.

          1. re: sugartoof

            the basteeya was listed under the appetizers . . . it was a generous size for an appetizer:-) - plenty for two

            1. re: vday

              Perhaps if you misunderstand what would constitute "generous" for that style cuisine. The Basteeya is sold for 2 and isn't currently listed as a starter, nor was it back when I went... but I'm glad you found it a suitable portion.

              1. re: sugartoof

                The Web menu lists the duck confit basteeya under starters and it's $22, no mention of it being for two.

                http://www.aziza-sf.com/food.html

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  "basteeya
                  baked phyllo pie with a filling of saffron braised chicken & spiced almonds, draped in powder sugar & cinnamon - for 2 to share - available vegetarian $18.
                  " http://www.aziza-sf.com/dinner.html

                  Your link is the updated version though, since it's $4 more.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      apparently now it's been transformed into an eggroll.
                      http://sf.eater.com/archives/2012/10/...

                      when we went in July, it was still the traditional one.

                      1. re: drewskiSF

                        That video's confusing, it shows him making both a little eggroll-like cylinder that's about two bites and a pot pie that two or four people could share.

                        Maybe the eggroll comes with the tasting menu and the pot pie is a la carte?

                        1. re: drewskiSF

                          I just went last weekend and it was still the traditional one. Kind of rich for one person, better for sharing.

          2. the duck confit basteeya is excellent, as all basteeya usually are it is sweet but I think that goes really well with flavour of the duck. I liked the squab too. Our meatballs were drier than I would have liked.

            1. The lentil soup is a stand out.

              1. The green farro with scallops was moan worthy.

                1. I *always* get the spreads to start!

                  1. Detailed report on Aziza sort of buried in a long post topic with a misleading title: "I can't say I felt like there was anything particularly Moroccan about the food, but I enjoyed the combinations and thought the plating was beautiful."

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8737...

                    1. We took my brother who was in town for Oracleword. Food is VERY different than when it first opened, or even from three years ago when we took some friends. It is mostly CA fusion and the Moroccan influence is much more subtle. Very clean, light flavors. The basteeya had changed even from 2009: it is less sweet and has no chopped nuts any longer. All solid duck shreds; my DH loved it altho I prefer the more traditional style (but I did like the lower sugar level; I think Moroccan restaurant food has gotten overly sweet over the decades). We also had:

                      Lentil soup, with dates, celery and parsley: This is harira, the traditional tomato-based lentil soup, often eaten during Ramadan. In Morocco the dates are eaten afterwards, but here the dates, celery and parsley were finely chopped and the soup poured over them. Every spoonful brought slightly different flavors and textures. Spouse said this was the best lentil soup he's had in 45 yrs of restaurant dining.

                      Beet-cauliflower, with avocado, tamarind, and chile: Perfect little cylinders of beets were matched with small cauliflower florets. Both lightly cooked and seasoned with sea salt. The avocado was mashed and gently seasoned with chile. The tamarind was a subtle, complex sauce that tied all the flavors together. A beautiful dish which tasted as good as it looked, very evocative of Moroccan influence IF you understand that Moroccans actually eat a lot of salads and fruits – they are one of the few countries who can grow all the foods their people eat.

                      Pressed melon, with okra, celtuce, shiso, and tomato: Two types of melon served with sliced, lightly cooked okra. This turned the melon juices into the soft, slippery, glutinous texture that okra produces. The one grape tomato was peeled and left whole, and was almost as sweet as the melon. The shiso was a microgreen decoration, and the celtuce was two small leaves turned into a garnish of deep-fried crisps sprinkled with sea salt. This dish impressed us the least. All the flavors were good individually, but the fuss about pressed fruit always escapes me. It was interesting, but more as an experiment.

                      Mackerel, with plum, turnip, spinach, ras al hanout: Delicate fresh pieces of fileted mackerel with cubes of plum and turnip, garnished with spinach micro-greens. The mackerel was lightly pickled. Accompaniments were nicely seasoned with a spicy version of the ras al hanout. I liked this combination of flavors, although it felt very much like a hot weather dish – not something one encounters often in the foggy mid-Richmond area!

                      Big fin squid, with preserved lemon, king oyster mushrooms, radish, ginger: The squid was cross-hatched to tenderize it, cut into good-sized two-bite pieces. The ginger was really mild in this dish, which I appreciated. The accompaniments were left separate so that if you ate them together, the flavors went together in the mouth. The resulting taste was good, but the side elements weren't strong enough to stand on their own. An interesting dish, but I think it could have been stronger with a creative emulsion or sauce to provide more cohesive flavors.

                      Chicken wings, with sunchoke, currant, garlic, and celery: One of Aziza's best; as addictive as potato chips. We had these wings three years ago when it had more conventional accompaniments of baby Brussel sprout leaves and Marcona almonds, and it was just as good then as it is now. Aziza bones the chicken wings, lightly flours them and fries them crispy. The other ingredients are in tiny dice over and around the wings, a sort of Moroccan gremolata. Note they sprinkle them with sea salt afterwards; we found this superfluous and next time would ask that they not do this. The dish has sufficient salt as is.

                      The entrees surprised us. They seemed more substantial than we remembered from our 2009 dinner. We had:

                      Sturgeon, with potato, burdock, sea beans, shellfish-saffron sauce: I wish there had been more sauce; there was so little I couldn't taste any. But the sturgeon was a generous square (roughly three times bigger than what Commis/Oakland served us), lightly battered, golden brown on the top and flawlessly cooked. The sea beans were marsh samphire, slender green stems that are still a little crunchy even when cooked, with a pleasant ocean saltiness.

                      The accompaniments of small round new potatoes and diagonal cut burdock were remarkable. Burdock is a traditional Japanese ingredient, usually finely slivered because it's flavorful but extremely woody. These substantial cuts (2" long and roughly 1-1/2" in diameter) had the texture and thickness of an artichoke stem. Firm, yet not at all stringy or woody. We have no idea how Lahlou managed this, and were impressed. A beautiful, generous, stunning dish! Spouse said he wished he had ordered it.

                      Lamb loin, with beech mushrooms, cucumber, eggplant, cumin: Two thick slices of rare lamb tenderloin, and modest-sized square of braised lamb shoulder. The eggplant was combined with cumin in two swaths of thick, almost frosting-like puree. By itself the puree was odd, but when eaten with the lamb it was delightful, giving depth to the meat. This was an impressive accomplishment in contrast to what Prospect tried to do on our last (very unsuccessful) dinner in October 2011. Prospect's eggplant puree was intense but one-dimensional in flavor, and unpleasant both by itself and with the goat. The ingredients Aziza used were similar, but the end dish here was so much more successful.

                      Branzino, with eggplant, mustard greens, pepper, jalapeno: Branzino is very different from sturgeon. The filets are thinner, the flavor has the sweetness and delicacy of trout – or rather, how trout used to taste before it became a tasteless farmed fish. The eggplant was cooked and pickled in such a masterful way that the taste was subtle and gently tart instead of pucker-up-your-mouth sourness. There was the faintest suggestion of a slight sweetness adding depth to the flavor, but we couldn't identify it. The texture was soft but not mushy. This was a brilliant accompaniment, piquant without overwhelming the branzino.

                      The mustard greens were mini-greens, adding color but not the bitterness they would if more mature. The pepper sauce underneath everything was terrific. Although all three of us love really spicy food, this was an example of why restraint and balance are so crucial to producing a great dish. The sauce was sweet but not cloyingly so, with a restrained heat that gave just a slight kick at the end to remind you that this was not a dish for children. It had enough depth to bring all the flavors together but it didn't overwhelm the delicate fish. It made you want more, just so you could try to figure out the ingredients – precisely what a great chef should accomplish. We were so intrigued by this sauce, we asked the waiter to tell us the secret of it. It turned out to be Korean chiles.

                      Desserts are essential to the full enjoyment of Aziza. We all agreed Melissa Chou is possibly the most talented pastry chef in Northern CA. Despite sounding strange, they are delicate, ethereal and brilliant. Melissa Chou's mastery of desserts is illustrated by the fact that we don't like meringue, have never liked meringue (I don't hate it, but I never go out of my way for it), but in each of these three desserts, meringue was the essential component in their success.

                      My brother ordered the black sesame cake, with raspberry sorbet, meringue, hibiscus-plum soup. The black sesame cake has the light texture of a hot-milk sponge cake. The raspberry sorbet was intense and fresh-flavored – the berries have been perfect this year – with the meringue handled brilliantly. It was a soft curl on the plate, more like a super-creamy, non-dairy frosting, but lightly browned under the broiler to give it that thin caramelized crust. The hibiscus-plum soup was a dollop of sweet fruit sauce that somehow balanced nicely with the raspberry sorbet, a feat I have rarely seen successfully pulled off. Trying to balance two different fruit desserts often ends up poorly for one, and sometimes for both.

                      Chocolate mousse, with meringue, prune ice cream, rooibos. The rooibos was a colorful, slightly sweet sauce to accent the plate. The chocolate mousse was a barely sweet, 1" tall round of intense cacao decadence, topped with a thin delicate chocolate disk that was even less sweet. The spoonful of meringue was soft, but flavored with chocolate, adding yet another dimension. The prune ice cream was...prunes. And cream. And very little sugar. And it was terrific with the mousse and the meringue and the sauce, creating layers of flavors that played off one another brilliantly.

                      I chose the black currant curd, with vanilla, Douglas fir, and almond-hazelnut sable. What came was a narrow rectangular plate with tiny poufs of alternating colors piped in a row, garnished with broken pieces of a thin green-white confection. The fruit curd alternated with a vanilla cream, and clear gelled drops of bright green douglas fir with its minty-woody flavor. The nut sable was a sprinkle of fine crumbs, just enough to give a little texture.

                      In my dessert, the green-white confection was, indeed, a sheet of meringue flavored with Douglas fir. It was baked just enough to hold its form so it could be broken into pieces for a garnish, yet still be soft enough to melt on the tongue. It was the ideal contrast of textures and flavor to the softer creams and gel – again, creative conception and masterful execution.

                      Trio of mini-bite desserts served gratis were each superb. Coffee tasted like one of our favorites, Flying Goat. Aziza serves it in a French press carafe.

                      Since retiring in 2010 we've been eating our way around the Bay Area/West Coast. For us Aziza ranks right up at the top with the best. It's the creative, exciting, innovative food I thought we'd get at Commis, but didn't. Aziza not only had an amazingly high percentage of home runs, the service was polished and unobtrusive.

                      Do NOT go expecting traditional Moroccan restaurant food. Mourad Lahlou's cooking has become very CA fusion; what is coming out these days is different even than what's in his cookbook.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jaiko

                        I love the descriptions in this report, thanks so much for sharing. And great to know about this shift from Moroccan to CA fusion.

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          Yeah, it seems like characterizing it as Cal-Moroccan or "Moroccan with a California twist" (as Michael Bauer does in his blog today) is out of date.

                          1. re: Dave MP

                            I should also mention that ALL the starters came out of the kitchen apportioned equally for our party of three diners. A small, but very nice touch that too many restaurants ignore!

                          2. re: jaiko

                            I just wanted to say thx for this review. Visited yesterday and had such a wonderful experience. Surprises at every turn.

                            We had the tasting menu. Highlights: rice cracker w yogurt & coffee, farro with uni, basteeya, crab w persimmon custard. The cheese course and desserts too. A few combos didn't work for us, but were still interesting and worth tasting. We left delighted.

                            (FYI, duck confit basteeya was spring roll shaped, and soooo delicious. Very generous portion for a tasting menu. Would have been a full app for me, but I am a light eater.)

                            1. re: RBofSF

                              Glad you had a good time at Aziza! It is a restaurant everyone should try at least once.

                              We actually went back for a family dinner the day after Thanksgiving. Nine people, prix fixe. For $75/pp there were nine dishes selected for us from the regular menu, plus two other dishes for the vegetarian amongst our group.

                              The basteeya for us was the traditional circular pie. Two were brought out and divided by the waiters for the 8 meat eaters. The vegetarian got the pumpkin with chocolate - unsweetened, reminiscent of a mole.

                              New dishes that we hadn't tried on our October visit were:
                              - chicken wings came with persimmon, sweet pickled pepper rings, and a fennel sauce this time
                              - lamb shank with barley 'risotto'. Terrific! Tender lamb, delicious barley and sauce.
                              - vegetarian couscous. SUPERB!! All us meat eaters took a taste and immediately coveted it, so our vegetarian friend had to guard his plate from marauding forks. Deep-fried maitake mushrooms, brights dots of unsweetened cooked cranberry, some broccolini on the side. The couscous had a deep lemon flavor, and was flawless: dry, light, and fluffy (Lahlou's recipe for this runs 10 pages in his cookbook!).
                              - chicken with preserved lemon. A sous vide roulade with deep-fried skin, but the sauce was a little too pungent to be heaped on the plate with such abandon. Fresh corn, garlic scapes, chewy wheatberries, and some beautiful chanterelles but the aioli-type sauce needed some restraint.

                              Otherwise, a terrific meal. Everybody loved it, and the person who went to Commis with me agreed that there is no comparison in the value of Commis' prix fixe compared to Aziza's amazing, superior food for the exact same price.

                          3. i have to say i'm not a fan. we went last night. the service, while friendly and thorough, was very slow. we did not get our cocktails for about 20 minutes after we ordered them. the restaurant was not full. other courses lagged a bit too, but that was the worst of it.

                            the food was ok, but not a standout, to me, nor to one of my friends dining with us. the other two had been before and presumably like it. we shared the duck confit basteeya, which was very good - tender and flavorful, and i loved the sweetness. we also shared the flatbreads and spreads - piquillo-almond, yogurt dill, and eggplant. these were very tasty, and the bread was good, but they charge you for extra flatbread. when you don't give enough bread to start with and your customers still have a good bit of spread left on the plate, i expect bread to be free. we also split the albacore, spinach, saffron preserved lemon starter, which was a tartare preparation. nice, not spectacular.

                            i had the duck sous vide, which i don't see on the online menu right now. it came with little cones and cubes of celery root and chestnut, pomegranates, and a horseradish cream. the duck was flavorful and tender. but the dish was spare and left me hungry.

                            i tasted my friend's sturgeon which we both disliked. it had a very fishy smell/taste to it, and we both love sturgeon. not enough of the shellfish saffron sauce, and again the little cubes of potato and burdock left her unsatiated. another friend had the lamb shank, which i thought was quite good. the last person in our party had the couscous with what appeared to be tempuraed maitakes. the couscous was very dry, until i mixed in her cilantro and radish salad. the tempura was decent.

                            we shared dessert but i don't remember what it was - chocolate something or other. it was fine.

                            we loved our cocktails - very inventive, flavorful. if i would have had a couple of cocktails and the basteeya, i'd have been happy. we ordered a bottle of rose for the meal, which our server recommended - and it was plain bad. my fault for asking for something a little less expensive, i guess. the wine was tart with no balance and did not enhance any of the food. and a rather ghastly fluorescent pink. (i know that's not anyone's fault.)

                            the plating was beautiful on all our food, but the portions are small, minimalist. i "knew" what to expect from reading many reviews about this place, here and elsewhere, but i was still disappointed. I don't get the Michelin star rating. None of the food was, for me, that level of quality.

                            i didn't hate it, but I won't go back, and unfortunately I would not recommend it to friends.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              That's what gets Michelin stars: small portions of conservative, technically accomplished food, relatively elaborate decor, furnishings, and service, and no more than a hint of any cuisine other than French or Japanese. The same kind of deracination happened with La Costanera and reportedly with All Spice.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                i found the decor rather cheesy, myself...

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  I find the decor cheesy too, I really liked our most recent meal but we made a meal of six smaller dishes (4 of which were vegetarian) and I did find the use of the immersion circulator to be heavy handed and the love of all things served cubed a bit much. However everything we had tasted great especially the root veggies and the lentil soup.

                                  Unlike other folks we really like that the desserts aren't that sweet and I could eat a tub of the prune ice cream (probably not a good idea).

                                  We've never had service problems when we have gone there although lately they do seem understaffed.

                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                I went last weekend and I still love it...
                                My cocktail was the concord grape (concord grape, elderflower, peat smoke, laphroaig, scotch)... definitely one of the best and most interesting cocktails I've ever had. Smelt like smoke; tasted like grapes and scotch.

                                We also had the basteeya and flat bread which were great.
                                For entrees, at the advise of our waiter, we got the sea bass (which is no longer on the menu) instead of the sturgeon and also the lamb loin. Both were great. The sea bass was moist with perfectly crispy skin and the lamb was cooked perfectly (rarish).
                                Dessert was a little weird... we had some strange off menu sunchoke dessert. I didn't dislike it, but it wasn't something I'd get again.... it wasn't sweet enough for dessert. However the great mignardises that were brought with the check made up for it (esp. the chocolate truffle).

                                I agree that the portions are small (which is what I come to expect from a michelin stared restaurant), but I thought the quality was there.
                                I will admit that I did like Aziza a bit more before they got their star... the portions were bigger and the food was more hardy and just as tasty.

                                1. re: lrealml

                                  the sea bass was on our menu last night, with spatzle...

                                  Range was a Michelin-starred restaurant, and i don't remember their portions being tiny like that, at all. of course, they've since lost their star.

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    Like I said - go to Commis and see if it compares to Aziza. We didn't think it did, frankly. Syhabout may have been having an off-night, but only 2 courses of 9 (7 + 2 amuse-bouches) were worth the $$, and the service, like all the Chef Trophy Hunting places, was intrusive to the extreme. We couldn't have a conversation without getting interrupted every 5 minutes; 2-1/2 hrs of that was incredibly irritating.

                                    Aziza has changed, yes. So has Passionfish. So has Boulevard. It happens. You don't want to know how little we spent on La Bourgogne in the 1970's and thought it was a lot of $$$ then....if only we'd been able to see into the future.

                                    1. re: jaiko

                                      Ah Passionfish... now there is a place where the food was not good when I went... dry, flavorless fish.

                                      1. re: lrealml

                                        Interesting - when did you go? We went to Passionfish in 2011 and again in Nov 2012. Both times we liked it, but it was quite different the second time. More meat, gutsier flavors, but all the seafood was quite good, as were the salads.

                                      2. re: jaiko

                                        i have been to Commis - once - and absolutely loved it. everything - service, food, ascetics, ambiance... in fact, i've been planning on taking my sister there very soon. thanks for the remind!

                                        i didn't complaint about Aziza changing, since i'd never been there. in fact, i stated that i knew what to expect from reading all the reviews of some other people not liking the changes.

                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                          I think if one isn't old enough to remember nouvelle cuisine, Modernist has a vibrant freshness that is very appealing. But overall, although I'm glad we went to Commis, it's very low on my list to return to. Been there, done that, and have had better many times elsewhere.

                                          I think you mean the aesthetics of Commis appeal to you? Although 'ascetics' is one way of looking at this kind of minimalist Willy Wonka-isms, to paraphrase what one professional reviewer was quoted as recently saying (but not about Commis, just modern restaurants in general).

                                          The service at Commis is very good, but not great. A definite distance from flawless, in fact. Great service is unobtrusive, polished and relaxed. And very, very, very rare - especially in the Bay Area, where the professional maitre d' position has been mostly eliminated.

                                          1. re: jaiko

                                            oopsy, yes, aesthetics. i found the place minimal but not sterile. there are indeed 1000s of wonderful places to try in the Bay Area and i'm doing my best to get to them all. when i find a good one, tho, i do tend to return. I'm very familiar with nouvelle cuisine as a concept. i don't love modernist food over others... i love it when it's done well, when i leave satiated, and when the food was truly memorable. ala Commis, and even more so, ala Atelier Crenn.

                                            and i don't think i really would expect flawlessness from anyone.

                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                              But you should expect flawless service at 5-star establishments. We all should (speaking as a group), and that we don't, is just as much our failing as the restaurant's. It's their job to provide service, and that is what we pay them for. "Walking the talk" when you are one of the waitstaff is only a high bar if the owner and manager make it one.

                                              Still, we are going around in circles here, and falling OT. Everybody's baseline is going to be different, and some people are going to like Restaurant A and others will like Restaurant B or D. The best any of us can do is to try to explain what we like or don't like about a place, and put it into a context that will be meaningful for others.

                                              I'm glad you enjoyed Commis - the egg cream is absolutely wonderful. And I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Aziza as much as we did. We found our meals there to be satisfying, creative, and full of passion.

                                    2. re: lrealml

                                      "I agree that the portions are small (which is what I come to expect from a michelin stared restaurant)"

                                      Portions were always small, especially for the cuisine. It's the equivalent of ordering a burger and getting a tiny slider so it appears delicate and well produced enough to rank as fine dining. I've been saying for years now that the presentation has been mistaken for inventiveness. Sounds as if that's even more so the case now, but maybe they've given in to more of a fusion thing so there's less of an issue how faithful they are to the flavors they're serving.

                                    3. re: mariacarmen

                                      we tried Aziza two times, some years ago when the fuss over it was still on the rise, and our overall impression was similar to yours ; accordingly, we haven't returned. at a certain price point or over, our expectations are a bit higher. and the distance from our residence, the necessity of advance planning for a reservation, and the option of eating quite well at home with unlimited vintage wines are all deterrents.

                                    4. Is the tasting menu worth it compared to splitting several dishes amongst a group of people? The ultimate decision will be up to the table, not just me, so I figured I'd do some research and try to sway the group. The restaurant has changed a lot since I there in '05...

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: hyperbowler

                                        if you are going with a group I would just order off the menu and not get the tasting menu especially if people are willing to share.

                                        1. re: hyperbowler

                                          There's a lot bigger difference between sharing a bunch of dishes a la carte and doing the tasting menu than there used to be. Originally the tasting menu was a five-course prix-fixe of selections from the a la carte menu. Now it's a $95 13-course-plus-amuse-and-mignardises Michelin extravaganza.

                                          1. re: hyperbowler

                                            Yeah, the tasting menu had lots of interesting items not on the regular menu. But for our dinner this week, we wound up going a la carte to accommodate the timing of our plans afterwards. FYI, the tasting menu would have cost us about $50 extra per person.

                                            "Stand-outs" is a tough call--- the menu has too many seasonal items. Some of the best things we had...

                                            The duck confit basteeya was as excellent as this post promised. I wouldn't split this across more than four people though.

                                            The spreads were also excellent. The chickpea spread was nothing like the hummus I expected, and was instead sieved smooth and cut with green garlic. The piquillo-almond spread was the had the best matched texture for the grilled flatbread, and was reminiscent of muhammara minus any tart elements. The yogurt contained dill and salmon roe and were better paired with the cucumber slices than the flatbread.

                                            The other stand-outs for me were the semolina-based pseudo-pastas (fregola and couscous):

                                            The fregola upstaged the cornish hen it had accompanied. It absorbed a lot of savory flavor (I forgot to ask from what), and had a light chewiness.

                                            The couscous with peas, mint, large pea shoots, and pine nuts could be treated as an entree or something to split across a group. They nailed every aspect of this dish. The pea shoots that topped the couscous were well picked and tender.

                                            1. re: hyperbowler

                                              Oh, that version of couscous sounds great! When our family did the tasting menu last Thanksgiving, the one vegetarian had to guard his plate against marauding forks! Everybody got one little taste of his and instantly wanted MORE.

                                              Nobody makes couscous like Lahlou. I'm hoping that even though his new FiDi restaurant won't be Moroccan, he might slip a couscous dish in there once in a while [smile].

                                          2. We've split a discussion of whether couscous and fregola are pasta and how they're made to the General Topics board; please join that thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901782