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aziza update

ed | Dec 6, 200405:13 PM

was there for dinner recently in a party of 4. sat in the back room (cushions and bench along the walls).

wine - i brought a 98 rhone, but upon seeing the list, decided to keep it sheathed. had a 2000 bandol for just over $40 which pleased everyone, followed by a 1999 languedoc, which was sadly corked. server took it back without hassle. we tried the 02 languedoc instead, but it was rather simple, tart, and short ($38).

the bread. it was a round bread, slightly sweet with sesame and a bit of anise or carraway? quite popular as we waited for the goods.

had to try the merguez sausage with a toast to malik. satisfying but not remarkable. 2 links, yogurt dip, $7

wild mushroom phyllo 'ravioli'. i enjoyed this quite a bit more. lovely contrast of dusky earthy aromas, succulent tender fungi, and light crisp phyllo. $8?

bastilla. nicely presented large round pastry "for two" but was fine for 4. lovely mild tender filling, and more good phyllo. if anything, filling was perhaps too homogenous in taste and texture to elicit excitement. $16

i was in the mood for lamb, and the waiter recommended the shank. sadly, this was a bit of a disappointment for me. while the meat was nicely prepared, it was drowned in a sweet red sauce which reminded me vaguely of the dreaded sweet and sour. i couldn't shake the negative associations, and had to enjoy the texture of the tender shank while unable to locate it's flavor. the saving grace was the lovely cous cous, which was fruity, nutty, moist, and light. i'm not usually a cous cous fan, but this was an eye opener. i checked some old posts, and others corroborate this opinion.

others had the prawn tagine, rabbit, and lamb stew? all seemed more pleased with their entrees.

no one really had room for dessert, but the tea was sublime. just a classic mint with a touch of rosewater? nicely honeyed and served in a thermos-type french-press pitcher, it kept a perfect temperature through our extended lounging intermission on the fully cushioned bench. the warmth and sweetness imparted a soothing creamyness of virtual texture.

belly dancing - a companion said it wasn't classic (too much movement in the torso) but to the six other untrained eyes, we found the performance to be expressive, sensual, and harmonious.

grand total, $230 for 4

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