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Mourad (from Aziza) [San Francisco]

mr_darcy | Feb 8, 201509:36 AM

Had a very enjoyable meal at Mourad Lahlou's eponymous restaurant last night, and thought I'd post about it since I didn't see any other mention here.

In general, I would describe the food as significantly more modern and fusion than Aziza. The service was good, though a bit nervous (I think they had some early feedback that they need to improve on that front). The ambiance is definitely unlike Aziza - I would say it's almost like a Moroccan version of Hakkasan in that respect.

Back to the food - we got the kampachi (pictured) and smoked salmon for appetizers. I don't eat raw fish, so can't comment directly on the kampachi, but am told that it was good. The salmon was excellent - a glazed 1-inch slice off a fillet. It reminded me very slightly of the smoked salmon at Willow's Inn on Lummi Island, probably because it was tender and warm (but it would be unfair to expect it to beat the salmon at Willow's Inn).

For our main course, we shared the snapper and cabbage (which is really just a side). The snapper was perfectly cooked and rested on a bed of beans in a buttery saffron broth. To be honest, I would have liked the beans cooked just a little bit longer so that the skin would be softer, but the flavors worked together so well that I didn't really mind. The portion size was larger than expected - I want to say the snapper was 5 by 3 by 3 inches in volume. The cabbage was great too - it comes with apples, chermoula, and parmesan cheese, which sounds like a slightly weird combination, but actually works well.

The highlight, for me at least, was the dessert - we got the "olive oil", which turns out to be a ribbon of olive oil mixed with white chocolate, with dabs of whipped goat cheese frosting and nasturtium cream, and a scoop of grape fruit gelato. The chocolate olive oil ribbon alone is a bit much, but perfect when paired with the goat cheese and nasturtium, which both cut the sweetness a bit. On the whole, the dessert was well-balanced - unsurprising as Melissa Chou is the pastry chef here. I wouldn't mind just going back for the desserts :)

Has anyone else tried this place? Would be curious to see what others think.

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