Restaurants , Pan-African East Village
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Photograph: Daniel Krieger
Roasted chicken at the NoMad
Photograph: Daniel Krieger

Before Nomad opened, Mehenni Zebentout spent months obsessing over the interior, buying North African antiques, and hiring friends to paint a mural and weld Moroccan-style gates over the windows. He also handpicked the chef—Hisham Khiri—who makes great big shareable dishes like the sweet, flaky chicken briwats (think egg rolls) and the roasted-eggplant dip. The signature entrée is couscous royale, a deep bowl of stewed, brothy vegetables plated next to a large mound of couscous dotted with three kinds of meat. The waitress admitted to snacking on pastry during her shift, and who could blame her? The baklava, hazelnut halvah and Tunisian sponge cake are completely addictive.

Venue name: Nomad
Address: 78 Second Ave
New York

Cross street: between 4th and 5th Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Sat 4pm–midnight; Sun 3pm–11pm
Transport: Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave; 6 to Astor Pl
Price: Average main course: $15. AmEx, MC, V