Holy scrumptiousness, Batman.
Last night, Cute W and I had a date night. We went to see Wicked at Proctors. Remember? I was going to write a review? Here it is. Anyway, we decided to try something new: Tara Kitchen, which is a Moroccan restaurant located on Liberty Street between Jay Street and Yates Street. This one had been on our “to do” list for a while. We vaguely remembered friends talking about the take-out Moroccan available through a store or the the Schenectady Greenmarket. We’d heard it was yummy. We’d also heard it was slow, which almost prevented us from trying it last night. I’m glad it didn’t, because it wasn’t slow. Service was timely and extraordinarily warm and friendly, and more important: the food was delicious.
The place is small: when you first peek in, it looks absolutely tiny, but there’s more dining space a few steps up as well. Decor is sparse but authentic. They start you off with a lovely sweet mint tea served in glasses that you will wish that you could buy and take home with you. Between the small space and the hospitable service of tea to start the meal, we felt vaguely like visitors in someone’s house in spite of the other random diners sitting at tables.
We started out with two appetizers. First, potato patties with mixed vegetables ($3):
There were two burger-sized patties that were savory, a little bit spicy, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Super yummy. We also chose grilled shrimp with spicy harissa sauce ($8):
These were spicier, but still not too hot, and the sauce was sweet and spicy. The dish included 5 shrimp: a lesser dish might have meant that either Cute W or I would graciously offer the other a third shrimp. Not here. We scrupulously split one so that we each consumed exactly two and a half. Marriage is about sharing, people.
At this point we started to get a bit giddy. This is what happens when you realize that you have a friendly, delicious local restaurant, a new destination to try with the family, too.
For main dishes, we shared two. First, spinach with split yellow lentils and artichoke hearts ($14), a kind accommodation from Cute W, who is not spinach’s biggest fan. But he liked it, too: richly flavored, a silky texture, and oh-so-good with the wedges of pita that they provided. I didn’t take a picture of this one. I think at that point I was just too excited about eating. But it was delicious. Part of the reason why I wanted an all-vegetable main dish is that I often find that meat-focused dishes at ethnic restaurants don’t offer enough vegetables. That wasn’t the case for our other main dish, boneless chicken kebobs with apricot and prune marinade served with couscous and mixed vegetables ($16).
This was so good. The chicken was awesome, both tender and flavorful. But I think that I was most excited about the vegetable sides. These were probably the best green beans that I’ve eaten in my life.
They serve a couple of desserts (green tea gelato and baklava), but we had to rush off to the show. We ended up with enough leftovers for a modest lunch for Cute W and me. No, we didn’t share with the kids.
Anyway, you should totally go. And if you generally don’t take your kids out to ethnic restaurants, please refer to my earlier rant on this issue.
Cute W and I are already plotting what we’ll order next.