Mourad

Mourad
140 New Montgomery St. #1
San Francisco, CA 94105
Yelp
Sometimes it can be hard to find a truly foodie driven hot spot that is open on Sunday in San Francisco.  Fortunately, Mourad defied that trend and was wide open with Sunday reservations for my dinner with newlyweds The Pouter and UVA.  The Annoyer had been to Mourad already, but he’s always a good sport and doesn’t mind going back to places for me.  He’s the one who got me so curious about the place, because modern Moroccan isn’t a concept that really speaks to me and he had some good things to say about the place.  When I think Moroccan, I think couscous and I go “mehh.”  I never had a couscous that I liked.

Kanpachi lemon, saffron, uni, apple, urfa
The Annoyer always has to have his “tasty fish.”  This was refreshing, not only for being delicate and clean, but also for its novel use of the apple and uni flavor.  The serpiginous cream was laced with uni, while the white kisses were tart with apple flavor.  Moroccan?  I”m not so sure, but certainly different.

Octopus brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard, preserved lemon
The char on the octopus, sprouts, and cauliflower was the most memorable aspect here.

Basteeya duck, asian pear, lemon verbana, crème fraîche, almond
The basteeya is one of their signature items.  It’s a blend of Moroccan spices, nuts, and meat, baked in phyllo dough.  It looks like a burrito but with a light and crispy shell.  

The picture does not do the basteeya justice.  It was TASTY, with a great balance of salty, sweet, nutty, fragrant, and spicy.  It was really quite unique and delicious.  A must try!

Short Rib slow cooked, dried mandarin, bitter greens
In the famous words of Rihanna and Calvin Harris, “This is what you came for.”  The Annoyer described this dish as one of the best short ribs he’s ever eaten.  Thems strong words!  But he was so right.  Sometimes short ribs can be too fatty or too dry, but these were perfect.  You definitely don’t need a knife to cut through this.  Heck, you might not even need teeth.  These short ribs are meltingly TENDER.  The flavors were savory and meaty, but brightened by the use of citrus.  At $145 a pop, your pockets would surely bleed.  But these Moroccan family style dishes are meant to be shared between 4 people and come with 4 sides.

Sauces
3 sauces accompanied our main course.  The red one was tomato based with some kick from spices.  The green chermoula was like a salsa verde.  The orange one was a house made chili infused harissa.  It was a rainbow of colors and flavors.  Everything was so exquisitely flavored that the sauces were not really necessary, but a nice plus anyways.

Couscous brown butter
I still don’t like couscous.  It’s a texture thing.  Flavor wise, there was nothing wrong here.

Potato romesco, capers
The potatoes were deliciously roasted.  I enjoyed the brightness of the capers even if romesco isn’t always my favorite sauce. 

Kale olive oil, harissa
Being a vegetable fiend, this was my favorite of the 4 sides.  It was bright and balanced out the heaviness of the short ribs. 

Heirloom Beans tomato, feta, za’atar crumble
The beans were surprisingly tasty.  Who knew Moroccans did beans like this?

The basteeya and short ribs were the great highlights of our meal, but they sure hit the wallet pretty hard.  The basteeya, that was probably no more than 4-5 inches long, was $22.  Granted it was filled with duck, I’d say that was still pretty pricey.  If price isn’t so much a limitation, I would recommend Mourad.  I think its rare to find refined Moroccan inspired food like this, so the experience and food alone are worth it for me.  The short ribs with all those sides was like nothing I’ve ever had.  Two thumbs up!!!

 

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

 

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