July 28, 2008

tizi melloul

for our regularly scheduled "date night", i decided on a new place to try. i'd read about it quite a bit, and was excited about it, just by looking at the menu.

the place we went to was tizi melloul, a moroccan restaurant in the heart of chicago. it's near a lot of other cute, trendy restaurants, like sushi samba rio.
our first impression - kinda small... but the decor is just so very-near-authentic, we were blown away. if i didn't look out of the window at the fanny-packed tourists trekking by, i would have thought we were in some faraway land.
the place is beautiful, classy, sexy.

the food is just the same. we ordered steamed mussels as a starter, which i had read about online, and which our server also recommended. everyone around us was getting them too.
they arrived sizzling hot, and the smell... yum! they even smelled spicy and exotic. they mussel shells hold all the seasoning... it's pasted with what must be a mixture of paprika, and masalas, kosher salt? who knows, all i know is that it's delicious. probably the best mussel dish ever. EVER.
so you pick the mussels out of the shell, rub it on the shell's seasoning a bit, then dip it in the harissa butter sauce. so so so good!

then it was onto the entrees. i ordered the grilled hanger steak, while e got the lamb loin. i am a huge lamb fan, but i wasn't thrilled with this one. e loved it though. and i loved my hanger steak. and i also love that it came with french fries... which i lovingly dipped into the accompanying sauce.

dessert was... eh. this is not a dessert place. if you want something yummy, get the fondue from sushi samba rio up the street. our server suggested the poached pineapple brulee. while the brulee'd pineapple slice was delicious, the rice pudding was the blandest i've ever had. it seriously needed sugar, or syrup, or molasses! lol.
oh well... due to my lack of interest in my dessert, she could tell i wasn't impressed. but the complimentary champagne was a nice touch.

the customer service at this place is just on point. they make sure you're attended to (e.g. it was a busy night, but the manager came over to take our orders)... they check back on you at the perfect times... the manager makes rounds to ask about the food and service. and at the end of the night, you leave knowing that you're going to visit again, and indulge in those mussels.

cPe 2008