What better way to start National Culinary Arts month than to welcome the newest restaurant in town!
During the month, we will look at some examples of local establishments dishing out remarkable culinary fare. What gives them claim to culinary fame is one of the focal points.
Morocco’s Restaurant made a grand entrance on Castro Street over the past weekend showcasing an exotic, elegant and flavorful dining experience with warm welcoming vibes. The vibrant décor of rich cobalt blue and rust orange was bold yet inviting.
Moroccan cuisine is a marriage of diverse cultures including that of the Berbers, Arabs, French, Spanish, German, Jewish and North Africans. Cumin, paprika, lemon, garlic, olive oil and white ginger are among the ingredients found in this cuisine, which create a complex, yet smooth sensation on your taste buds.
Sham Essadki, co-owner, states that they are also a halal restaurant, meaning they serve food considered permissible according to Islamic law.
Sham is involved with the management and Chef Jay Essadki is involved in the cooking. Between the two brothers, there is a smooth coordination of efforts—while Sham greets customers and suggests wine and food combinations, Jay is fast at work at the grill and kitchen creating their mouth-watering dishes, as the attentive servers make sure that diners are properly taken care of.
From appetizer to salad to entrée to dessert, the flavors of their dishes are rich, somewhat delicate, and smooth—leaving you trying to identify what spice is in the bite you just had. Salads are unique, from a Beet & Potato to Classic Orange Carrot to their Signature Lentil. Appetizers consist of Briwatts, which are silky phyllo-dough turnovers with different fillings; Shrimp Skewers, Shrimp Pil-Pil, which are wild shrimp sautéed in spicy garlic and tomato herb sauce; a Kebab Sampler, Sardine Filets, and a Nut & Cheese Sampler.
Jay prepares the grilled platters using a "flame sauteed" technique, which coupled with their special spices, gives the food the original Moroccan flavor.
While dining, it is easy to see Jay on the other side of the counter busy at work. Be sure to stop over to see what he’s cooking.
Dining style at Morocco’s Restaurant is “family style” where dishes can be shared and be excellent conversation pieces.
The restaurant has a good selection of wine, beer and beverages, including the famous sangria, Sham’s Cocktail of the Week, and Moroccan wine. A specialty cocktail or hot mint tea is a perfect last touch with dessert—just in time to sit back and enjoy the entertainment for the night, which includes either live musicians, dancing or belly dancing.
If you are planning an event, the restaurant can be reserved for your group. They also offer catering and cooking classes. If you have your eyes on any of the artifacts in the restaurant, yes, they can be purchased.
Our personal experience at the grand opening:
We were warmly welcomed by Sham and got seated at a table that we selected. The servers were attentive and seemed to be well-broken-in. Sham came by a few times to introduce himself to our table and to all the other tables in the house. He made recommendations and, of course, asked what we would like to try from the menu so that he could answer any questions.
The dishes we had were the Classic Orange Carrot Salad, Fresh Fish & Vegetable Tagine, Kefta Plate and a complimentary appetizer made with salmon. With the fish dish and the salmon appetizer, I had chardonnay from the wine menu. We had a refreshing taste of the Apricot Shot—one of the specialty cocktails. We finished the meal with the warm mint tea, specially poured by the server.
The belly dancer, Adriana, performed and got many diners up to join her—men and women alike.
We enjoyed the delightful and uniquely flavored dishes and would like to come back to try more from their menu as well as take in more of their upcoming entertainment.
This side of Castro Street, near Fairmont Avenue, will soon show some signs of a party atmosphere given the calendar of upcoming events lined up, including live blues, jazz, world music, flamenco and belly dancing entertainment.
Morocco’s Restaurant is a unique dining experience and is a welcome gastronomic addition to Old Mountain View. Sham said that its goal is "to become a local's favorite where friends and families can find not only a place to have quality food but also to be entertained." Located at 873 Castro Street between Fairmont and Yosemite Avenues.
This is the second Morocco's Restaurant. The first is in downtown San Jose at 86 N. Market St.
Check back with us next week for the next dining establishment with a claim to culinary fame as we continue to celebrate National Culinary Arts month this July. The month's celebration promotes appreciation and awareness of professional chefs and cooks and how they impact the culinary and dining landscape.