Food & Drink

Tajine

When talk inevitably turns to North Africa, it immediately calls to mind -- wait, Africa has a North? Damn right, now eat it at Tajine, open now.

From a North African husband/wife duo, this quaint dinner spot on the fringe of Harvard Square serves up authentic Moroccan couscous and tajines in a simple but elegantly appointed 13-table, carpeted downstairs dining room that's painted a rich red and decorated w/ Moroccan lamps, Persian rugs, and an orange light on the wall illuminated to look like the Sun, but with less awkward getting-your-buddy-to-rub-lotion-on-your-back-as-long-as-you-do-his. Highlights from the menu include a white fish sharmoula (usually cod cooked in a spiced tomato-onion sauce and blended w/ extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and roasted red peppers); a chicken couscous mixed w/ seven veggies and plated on a bed of fine ground wheat semolina; and a caramelized onion and pruned "fragrant" beef/lamb stew with just a touch of Cool Water, because, c'mon man, there are chicks at this bar mitzvah. They also serve special dishes like Pastilla, a crispy traditional meat pie pastry stuffed w/ chicken, eggs, and almonds; Merguez, spicy red beef or lamb sausage seasoned w/ paprika, cayenne pepper, and doused w/ sharmoula sauce; and tajine of Kafta, spiced ground beef cooked in tomatoes and topped w/ an egg cooked sunny side up, which is a great little turnaround from that period of nihilistic existentialism it went through right before brunch.

If petite items are more your speed, there's imported Moroccan fresh mint tea sprinkled w/ saffron and herbs as well as small plates like a tomato, lentil, and garbanzo soup; Zaalouk, roasted eggplant w/ garlic herbs; and spiced ground beef "cigars", which inevitably call to mind -- wait, you can eat cigars?