Over the wet weekend I had dinner with my friend Hayley at la Maison du Couscous, a tiny out of the way Moroccan place in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. When I lived in Bay Ridge, I never ate here but always wanted to try it… so with cabin fever from all the rain, I decided to take the 20 minute subway ride to Hayley’s neighborhood for a little tasty wandering.
The place is quite small and nicely decorated. We assume the server is also the owner and the cook, his wife. He’s a little abrasive and condescending but in a way that you can diffuse with the right attitude. I can tell you that he was not pleased with my picture taking – not sure why – the food was quite attractive. We had a trio of salads (more like bread toppings), chicken bastilla (sweet and savory phyllo tart), and lamb Marrakech tagine with a side of perfectly fluffy couscous.
The salads were tasty but the breads were dried out; next time I’ll just have the tart lively spinach salad (bakoula). The bastilla would have been perfect except for the overwhelming amount of almond extract that somehow found its way into the mix. The tagine and couscous were perfect. All this was far more than the two of us could eat, and even with a bottle of Algerian red wine and a decent tip, it cost less than most of my Manhattan bar tabs.
Bay Ridge isn’t that far away, so I will definitely return to this place to taste more of the classic couscous dishes and more of the tagines. I’ll just avoid the bastilla next time.
As for tonight’s “Chef’s Night Off”, I’m hanging out at home with a bottle of Jaboulet’s Crozes Hermitage that is left over from the wine class I taught earlier and a bowl of pasta with tomatoes, goat cheese, and fresh baby spinach. Life is good!