On a recent Monday night at the new casual Moroccan spot from Einat Admony (Taïm, Bar Bolonat), a despondent crowd loitered outside—like me, waiting for a table at the walk-in–only restaurant. Every orange leather chair in the petite space, embellished with vibrant blue tiles, remained filled throughout the evening, with diners pouring in for one thing: couscous. But this isn’t your average bowl, since Admony and her team go through the laborious process of making the dish from scratch, a rarity in the NYC dining scene.
Past the uncomplicated and slightly forgettable starters, including a swoosh of tahini-heavy hummus accompanied by house-made challah, lies the fluffy pearls of semolina piled up in your bowl and crowned with your choice of kosher meat, fish or vegetables. Lemony chicken tagine falls off the bone and mixes with jammy braised onions in a citrusy broth. A hollowed-out potato stuffed with ground beef and topped with fried potato sticks proves that the best companion for starch is… more starch. Unfortunately, every dish lacked the pool of broth or sauce I craved, leaving a good deal of the couscous untouched by the flavorful juices.
During lunch service, takeout can be ordered at the counter, a format similar to Admony’s popular falafel spot, Taïm. I’d recommend picking up a not-sad-desk-lunch here, rather than having a sit-down meal, but you can take that with a grain of salt, er, couscous.