It's now Fresh-er Pond

Most people's only knowledge of The Casbah is from The Clash's song about rocking it, which is ironic, as being a centuries-old Algerian citadel, it's probably seen a lot more stoning. But no longer: everything's great there now! -- just as it is at Fresh Pond's newest restaurant: Casbah.

Owned and chef'd by the guys behind Harvard Square's now up-for-sale Casablanca, Casbah offsets its quiet location on a Fresh Pond back road (and not even the one where Maximus used to be!) with palate-pounding, Mediterranean-influenced smoked meat, live dinner tunes from a small stage, and a funky lighting scheme with LEDs playing off oatmeal-colored fabric. Kick off your evening nosh w/ recognizable Middle Eastern starters (hummus, tabouli, grape leaves) and sausages/house-smoked chicken wings, then move on to weekly changing flatbreads like a Serrano ham/ bleu cheese, and one with dates, goat cheese, and mascarpone -- if you can't take anymore, just throw up your hands and say "no mas!...carpone". Burlier entrees that'll replace your evening Muscle Milk include tomato brown butter-sauced skewers (beef, lamb, chicken, or shrimp) served over pita with cucumber/ red onion/ spicy yogurt, as well as a dry-rubbed pulled lamb shoulder that's been slow-smoked for 10hrs over a wood fire, which seems a little drastic -- Everything Is Illuminated wasn't really that bad.

And while the opening-day libation lineup will run traditional (expect craftier cocktails and suds down the road), they'll be rocking a full bar, six draft lines (Stella, CBC, etc.), and ice-cold bottles of your fave Lebanese Pilsner, Almaza -- drink enough, and you'll be making that crazy Casbah sound.