I regret to report this restaurant is no longer open. March 2012.
Marrackech Moroccan Café and Grill
1839 Central Ave NE Minneapolis, MN 55418 612-788-0405
Alan found a Moroccan food Restaurant in Minneapolis. The desert tastes of North African have migrated here. My first experience with Moroccan food was in a restaurant in San Francisco California. The name of this exotic restaurant was Mamounia. The décor was a tent interior hung with colorfully patterned cloth and the clients sat on the floor on soft cushions at a low table. For my first Moroccan meal I chose lemon chicken tanjine. Couscous was served in the center of the table, family style, for everyone to share and soft breads were used to eat the meal. My meal was a small whole chicken that was so tender and delicious that I can recall it to this day.
When Alan suggested we go with his friend Holly, I did not hesitate. Alan is usually the first to know about new restaurants. He is like a seismometer of new eateries in the Twin Cities. Marrackech Moroccan Café and Grill is on Central Avenue in Nordeast. It is a modest restaurant with white plastic chairs and black tables inside and a terrace outside in the front. There’s a really nice poster of figure with a blue turban in dark desert clothing in profile and a flat screen TV on with the nightly news in a language I can’t understand. Hassan Elatiki is the owner. We all ordered the same thing. You guessed it – Lemon Chicken. (Alan said that he would come back and work his way down the menu.) We were served a sweet saffron rice appetizer on a small dish with a touch of corn and very finely grated carrot. The combinations of flavors were delectable. The rice was cooked perfectly. My anticipation was geared up after that. The lemon chicken plates arrived and it smelled so fragrant, that I had to restrain myself from pouncing on the plate. There were two portions of chicken – a breast and leg – surrounded by healthy heaps of potatoes and some green olives. Two people could manage to eat one of these servings. First bite lead to another and another as the tender chicken and lemon’s subtle flavor caused my brain to say, “Yes, yes, yes.” Fresh warm bread was served with the food. We gladly dove into our meal.
“Tagine or Tajine in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tagine pot, whose cover has a knob-like handle at its top to facilitate removal.”* Chicken or lamb is used, but I notice that the menu had beef dishes for the Midwestern customer. Prices are modest. They have a lunch menu that I would like to try. Like Alan, I want to come back and eat my way through the entire menu.
The meal was not rushed, we talked and enjoyed the food then tried the dessert, a very sweet fried roll of thin, crisp dough topped with chopped almonds. I asked the serving person about the cook. “Fatima” is the cook she answered with a smile.” “Ah, Fatima is a great cook.” I smiled back.
If you are looking for a new food experience and you are over Nordeast, the Marrakech Moroccan Café and Grill is like going to Morocco. (Without going to the airport and being x-rayed down to your bones, then getting on a plane and being shoehorned into a tiny seat. You get the picture.) It’s a fun casual spot that opened a month ago.