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Cabbies Choose Cafe Ya-Bon


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Cabbies Choose Cafe Ya-Bon

pane | | Jul 24, 2007 08:58 AM

Last night I went with Dave MP to Cafe Ya Bon, a place I noticed several months ago (

Finally they're up and running with a few Moroccan and Tunisian dishes. I gather that they're still installing necessary kitchen equipment that will allow them to expand the menu. As of yet, they offer Moroccan and Tunisian salads and sandwiches as well as a limited selection of hot foods. The food is cooked by the owner's wife, who was stirring a big pot behind the counter as we dined.

Yesterday they served lamb cous cous and harira. Unfortunately, they were out of the lentil soup my Moroccan cab driver raved about last week. We ordered the cous cous, harira and a Tunisian salad.

The lamb in the cous cous was divine--tender, succulent, lamb-licious. The cous cous itself was OK--moist (but not wet), but not flavorful enough until Dave poured the harira over top and mixed in a bit of harissa (Tunisian chili pepper paste).

Harira, a chickpea soup with big chunks of potato, carrot and zucchini, seemed like something my grandmother would make--warm, soothing, not a flavor sensation, but sometimes exactly the thing you crave.

The menu warns that the Tunisian salad is spicy, but I didn't find it to be so. I was a bit underwhelmed by this dish, but I didn't like a similar salad at Tajine either. Something about the texture is unappealing to me.

For dessert we split a slice of semolina cake topped with cracked pistachios. I like this moist, honeyed dessert, which I tried on a previous visit. Dave detected a flowery note, which may have been rose water or orange-flower water.

Overall, I liked the food and thought it was a good value. Dinner plus lemonade plus mint tea was $21.50. I would certainly stop by again when I'm in the neighborhood, and look forward to trying some of the dishes on the expanded menu. Now that Tajine has been "discovered" and lines can be somewhat horrendous, this is a great neighborhood spot with similar food and warm service.

I took pictures that I'll post later.

Dave, your opinion?