Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rock The Casbah

The Beanpole and I ended up going out (again) to dinner last night. This was probably a good idea since neither of us had left the house all day! Walking out the door of our apartment we're faced with about 30 different (and mostly delicious!) restaurants and despite all the options typically end up at one of a couple, but not last night.! We decided to walk a couple extra blocks to The Casbah, a nondescript Middle Eastern joint up the street from us. Our last visit was a year ago and since then the conversation has often gone like this:

SK: What do you want to do for dinner?
TB: I don't know. What do you want to do?
SK: I could go either way.
TB: Me too. Let's just grab something.
SK: Ok. What about Fabulous Restaurant 1?
TB: Nah.
SK: Ok, what about The Casbah? We always say we're going back.
TB: Yeah, we do. But I don't want to tonight.
SK: Yeah, me either.

This has gone on for a year. Really. Since Middle Eastern food offers a plethora of veggie-friendly options as well as carnivorous we finally went back. I don't have any photos of our dinner as the tables are incredibly close together and we were only about 4 inches or so from our neighbors on either side. It's not the best set-up for surreptitiously snapping photos!

The moment we walked in the waiter (manager? owner?) whisked our bottle of wine away and quickly returned with the open bottle and two tiny tumblers. Several minutes passed before he returned with menus, but we were in no hurry and in fact were quite enjoying the leisurely pace! The tiny space was packed so we ordered some hummus to tide us over to the main courses and sat back sipping our wine. The table next to us also ordered hummus (at the same time) but somehow ours arrived about 10 minutes before theirs! We were so close I almost offered to share! Soon The Beanpole's rather plain salad and my carrot-ginger soup were placed in front of us. The soup was so soothing, with just the right amount of creaminess and curry.

The Beanpole ordered the Sea Scallops and I ordered the Moroccan Shrimp Brochette, and naturally we traded tastes of the ocean. As of right now I am still happily able to enjoy seafood and intend to include it here and there amidst a mostly veg-based diet. The shrimp brochette was served over a bed of couscous and vegetables and were quite good. I can be picky about the texture of shrimp but these were cooked exactly to my liking with a bit of a crisp but still chewy. We were both full and skipped dessert this time but a couple next to us enjoyed a little bit of baklava that looked scrumptious.

It's a little pricey, a little cramped, and the service can be a bit laissez-faire but that's perfectly fine with me. Our waiter was amiable and we never felt rushed despite the small crowd gathering by the door. My personal tastes lean towards the smaller, independent establishments that dot the city streets and some of the issues that other diners find are part of the charm for me. Our food on both visits has been wonderful, the service friendly, and hopefully we'll make it back before 2009 is over!

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