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Casablanca- Harvard Square 10/ 21/ 2006


Restaurants & Bars 3

Casablanca- Harvard Square 10/ 21/ 2006

Food4Thought | Oct 22, 2006 07:47 PM

I haven't seen anything too recent on Casablanca so I thought I would add my $0.02

Major Strasser: What is your nationality?
Rick: I'm a drunkard.
Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.

At Casablanca you have a choice of tapas/ small plates and/ or entrees they bill themselves as offering sophisticated Mediterranean fare with a Northern African influence.

We were a party of 5 and we chose to go the tapas/ small plates avenue. All of the entrees I saw going to other tables looked very good ( large portions) and there was a lamb shank special that sounded utterly decadent.

The wine list was fairly basic but reasonably priced ( I had a few glasses of Earth, Zin & Fire which I liked quite a bit).

We were greeted by a nice bread basket with a variety of breads and olive oil, you will definitely want to keep that basket close by to dip in the various sauces.

The dining room is...kinda weird. A long row of booths on one side and on the other flank a comfortably padded bench along the length of the wall and a combination of 4 tops and deuces which can be configured to accommodate various sized parties. There are small and large paintings representing scenes from the restaurant's 1942 namesake. The color scheme very 70's. That being said, you will never notice once the food arrives. The large separate bar room also accommodates dining.

Past posts about Casablanca recommend the short ribs and for good reason. Wow, my perfect dictionary definition,thick, rich, tender, beefy and comforting. Another recommended selection was an octopus salad w/ poached egg which was sadly was not present.

We ordered:
-Sides of marinated olives and the roasted almonds with sea salt the nuts were so simple, so good.
-Fried Vermont Goat cheese with a delicate and delicious thin crispy crust (panko maybe?)
-Serrano Ham Antipasti the Serrano sliced very thin a la proscuitto , with slices of cheese, olives, figs and a syrupy (in a good way) balsamic drizzle.
-Artichoke Filled Crepe-This was pretty unique, artichoke puree in a tender crepe with a bright parsley butter sauce
-Turkish Meze Plate extra $4.00 for dolmades and olives-why not
-Ana’s Short Rib caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic - we ordered two and you should too, it is that good
-Seared Tuna herbed stuffed eggs, green beans, black olives. decent dish, the eggs kicked ass.
-Mussels in a white wine broth, with cherry tomatoes and grilled chorizo.

In some cases the portions seem a bit smallish, but then again, I doubt they were meant to be shared by 5 diners so I'm really in no position to criticize.

Not a bad dish in the crowd. The server did ask if we wanted the dishes served in any particular order which I thought was a nice gesture, but we had no preference. The dishes arrived in two waves, with a little too much of a lull between them, but it wasn't a huge deal, the first wave had us wanting for more and we contemplated ordering some additional dishes, but after the second wave came we were glad we did not. All of our appetites were well satiated.

Small plates and sides were reasonably priced between $5.00 and $13.00. Entrees were in the mid to upper 20's to the low 30's All food, various cocktails , glasses of wine and a bottle of Cabernet and tip came out to $43.00 each which I thought was a tremendous value. I don't know why it took me so long to check out eating at Casablanca (I had been for cocktails), but I will return to sample the dishes we missed.

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