We found Barbès when looking for a restaurant near the Morgan Library as we wanted to see the da Vinci exhibit. I was pretty excited to go to a Moroccan restaurant: I remembered some fantastic vacations many years ago where I spent a week going from Marrakech to Ouarzazate in a 4x4, sleeping mostly in tents in the Sahara desert.
I was wondering if the restaurant was named after the very popular Barbès boulevard in Paris, but unfortunately could not confirm.
The entrance of the restaurant is a heavy wooden door with a hand of Fatima that can be used to knock. Spiritually, it represents protection. Hopefully, this would provide protection to our stomach as we noticed that the restaurant had a Grade Pending that can mean few things: new restaurant not yet rated, the restaurant disagreed with its grade and filed an appeal, or they really had lots of sanitary violations...
The place had some warmth with its exposed bricks and hardwood floors, and the high ceilings gave a feel of space.
We started off with some mint tea that they poured from a distance to create some foam on top. Some say it is to bring some oxygen to it.
We opened the top (it was very hot) and a wonderful smell emanated from the tea leaves.
Then, they brought us some pita that was nicely chewy. I do not know if they made it or not.
For the appetizer, we shared the Mediterranean salad:
It was made of zaalouk, roasted eggplant with tomato and garlic.
Hummus (puree of chick peas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil):
Chakchouka, that is a dish made with peppers:
It was delicious and a great appetizer to share. They tasted fresh and were perfect with the pita.
Then, Jodi could not find anything that she would like for brunch that day, so she decided to go for the cobb salad.
For sure this is not your typical Moroccan dish! But at least, know that they offer other dishes in case you are with people who would want something familiar to eat.
On my side, I went for the eggs and merguez.
Merguez are lamb sausages that are quite popular in North African cuisine. I truly appreciated the fact that they gave four of them as in a lot of restaurants, it will either be two or four very small ones.
These were delicious: a bit spicy (I used the yolk to offset the spiciness) and not dry, with a nice char on the outside. Serving them with eggs was a very good idea, truly representing the concept of Moroccan brunch.
I have to mention that they brought me the wrong dish and when I told them that it was the eggs with merguez that I ordered, their reaction was not very customer friendly, questioning the veracity of my comment. They apologized later, but I have to say that this was a bit disappointing.
We skipped dessert as we were going to Lady M after...Would I go back? Probably for dinner to try their couscous or tagines.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!