Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 14:09
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
It's emphatically distinctive in two different ways. It's the only Moroccan restaurant in New Orleans. In a mild style. No sitting on the floor or eating with your fingers. And it's kosher, in the strictest sense. Inspected by a rabbi. No dairy products. Glatt meats. On top of all that, the food is very good. If you've eaten in Greek and Lebanese restaurants, you've had much of the menu.
WHY IT'S GOOD
Owner Linda Waknin and her family are no less than excellent cooks. Here are some of the best soups in town. A full deli with great kosher sandwiches. Couscous, made however you like it within the dietary laws. Big flavors run throughout the menu. The creativity is sometimes amazing, as in the kosher pareve cheesecake made with tofu instead of dairy products. It's terrifc by any standard.
Linda Waknin's mother operated a number of restaurants over the years under her name Fortuna. That evolved, in 1995, into Casablanca, which continues to serve some of Fortuna's most distinctive dishes, as well as many more.
The room has a lofty ceiling, dramatic murals, and an ambiance grander than you'd expect from the look of the exterior. The room has glass-brick dividers and other nice touches; the entire place sparkles. You may well encounter the rabbi who approves everything here. He always looks happy, and I look happy right back at him.
»Harira (lamb and bean soup).
»Any soup of the day.
»Baba ghanooj (unusually smoky).
»Fish tagine (a spicy stew, the Moroccan answer to bouillabaisse).
»Chicken, lamb, or beef couscous.
»Chicken bastilla (a sort of pie, made with cinnamon and raisins).
Stuffed Cornish hen.
FOR BEST RESULTS
The first courses here tend to be more carefully constructed than the entrees, for some reason; the baba ghanooj and hummus are particularly fine.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Dishes involving phyllo pastry (spinach pie, for example) sometimes are a touch flaccid.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine and Bar
- Local Color
- Good for business meetings
- Small private room
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
An unusual combination: classic Lebanese and Moroccan food in a strictly kosher (supervised by a Chabad rabbi) restaurant. The room has a lofty ceiling, dramatic murals, and an ambiance grander than you'd expect from the look of the exterior. The first courses here tend to be more carefully constructed than the entrees, for some reason; the baba ghanooj and hummus are particularly fine. Service is accommodating and helpful.