I had a solid B+ meal at Zitoune in the Meatpacking district today(Gansevoort St.). The place is suspiciously empty and the service is well meaning but inept. Other than that the food was all pretty flavorful and a good lunch deal for 18 bucks you get three generous courses.
For starters we got an order of sizzling sardines. They were very large fillets, brought frying to the table with a nice smear of harissa sauce. Spicy and fresh taste of the sea although a bit too greasy and I had to let them sit out on the doley for a sec before inhaling them. My mom got a cold Moroccan assortment platter of chick pea salad, stewed zucchini, spinach with preserved lemon, and roasted eggplant. The eggplant was the best of the bunch and had a deep flavor without the usual overwhelming smokiness I detest.
A Zitoune green salad was very large and was covered with toasted almod slices, preserved lemon confit, and some incredibly good olives.
The main courses of a lamb tagine was a bit dissapointing as I was hoping for it to come out in a tagine but it was an open plate with some dry cous cous in a separate plate. The lamb chunks were surrounded by green beans that were fava-ish and a few buttery, baby artichokes. An order of vegetable cous cous really needed a lot of the oily broth that came with it in a pitcher to liven it up. Harissa would have helped but mom can't take the heat.
Sorbets of apricot, rasperry, and ginger(and some fruit I can't remember) were very tasty but unexciting. The fruit and nut Bisteyka was a real stunner though. So jammed with dried fruits, cashews, and sweet spices. I normally eschew flakey desserts for the cakey variety but this one was a winner for me.