Hoboken has a new Moroccan and French restaurant that opened uptown on Park. Barbés is not totally unknown to me as it used to be in New York but unfortunately closed. Taking its name from the neighborhood below Montmartre, the restaurant serves more Moroccan dishes than French ones, if not for the duck, served confit as an appetizer or as a magret (duck breast) as an entree, or the steak au poivre. No, definitely I wanted to go there to try the Moroccan dishes, especially Tagines and couscous as there are not that many restaurants serving great ones.
Funny enough, we heard about this place while dining at Ali Baba, a Middle Eastern restaurant on Washington Street, where I was eating...couscous. The two times we went there, we arrived pretty early and luckily got a seat as the place got packed fairly quickly. The first dinner at Barbes I got tempted by a cocktail: The New York Sour, a whisky sour made with dried red wine (that for sure came through).
The second time, I tried a glass of Guerrouane, a wine from Morocco that was fine with the meal.
Here are some of the dishes we tried:
A great appetizer to share is the salade méditerranéenne, composed of hummus, shashouka (made with tomatoes and peppers), as well as zaalouk, an eggplant salad. All of them were delicious on pieces of pita and my favorite was the shashouka, that reminded me of my family cuisine.
The couscous aux legumes or vegetable couscous, a vegetarian option, that was served in a tagine, giving a rustic and authentic feel to the dish (in fact, one of the co-owner, Omar, told that that sometimes people just order because of the tagine, not knowing what is inside). The vegetables (carrots, cabbage, zucchini, chickpeas...) were sitting on deliciously made semolina, with also some raisins that added some sweetness.
I have also tried their couscous royale that is my favorite: the base is the same as the vegetable couscous, but they add some merguez (lamb sausage), chicken and lamb. Simply delicious!
Since I love merguez, and I do not see it often on a menu, except in French or Moroccan restaurants, I also tried their merguez brochette, served with a quinoa tabouleh (you can otherwise chose French fries). This was great: the merguez were delicious, delightfully greasy and a bit spicy. I was in heaven.
Last, dessert: they have chocolate mousse or Pastilla au lait, a dessert made with fried phillo dough, smothered with milk and rose water. Both are very good: the chocolate mousse is very chocolatey and has a nice texture, and the pastilla is fantastic, not overly sweet and crunchy, sublime like anything fried!
With it, we ordered a mint tea, but I admit that I found it disappointing as they put rose water instead of green tea, overpowering the mint.
Overall we had a great meal at Barbés: the food was delicious and the service on point. It is great addition to Hoboken and I hope they will be successful, especially considering that the location is not that obvious, a bit off the beaten path.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Barbés- 1300 Park, Hoboken, NJ 07030