Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kous Kous

After parking in the free parking lot on 4th avenue (Hillcrest) we wandered up and down the street looking for Kous Kous, and initially were a little confused as it was not immediately apparent. After a more thorough search however we found it, located underground (beneath Martinis) and not clearly visible from the road.
Initially a little put off by the location we were incredibly impressed once we stepped inside the restaurant. They have really done an amazing job with what is, essentially, a basement. The ceiling pipes and cables have all been nicely painted, and have become almost invisible. A canopy structure in the corner of the restaurant adds some interest. Palms and other house plants abound the space making for a wonderfully exotic feel and the beautiful furniture table linens and dinnerware were nicely contemporary and made for a clean sophisticated feel. The sense of Morocco is impressive (without being overbearing), from the rugs and scattered pillows right down to the wonderful hostess and staff who were friendly and attentive throughout our meal.
Our server turned out, in fact, to be the brother of the proprietor. He has his own similar restaurant in New Zealand and is just here a few weeks to help his brother get off the ground. A more charismatic server would be difficult to find, and he really increased our enjoyment.
We started off the meal with a jug of Sangria- the waiter making sure to add plenty of fruit to our glasses. The Sangria was certainly one of the better mixes I have had, and it was a nice change from wine. For nibbles before the meal we were presented with a plate of marinated carrots (excellent) and olives (quite good).
Perusing the (rather short) menu I had a hard time choosing, but settled in the end for a Shrimp Kabob. My wife went for the Vegetable Tagine. One of the main reasons we had come to try out Kous Kous was the coupon we had received in Uptown magazine. This was for one entree. It was fortunate that we had the coupon as the food turned out to be really quite pricey. At $15+ per entree we really would have expected a little bit more. Don't get me wrong, the food really was excellent, flavorful, fresh and authentic. Perhaps the problem is that we often cook in a similar way at home. Cous cous is a huge staple in our larder and the Moroccan spices and flavors are very familiar.
We really enjoyed our meal at Kous kous, and I hope that the wonderful staff succeed in their venture. This certainly adds a nice alternative to the Hillcrest staples. I would very much like to go back, (particularly once the menu has been a little expanded), but will have a slightly difficult time justifying a trip at the current prices.
I wish them luck and encourage everyone to pay a visit.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with $15 for an entree ? There are a lot of lousy restaurants where you pay quite more to get less good food, e.g. Parallel 33, Melting Pot etc.
It is also interesting to see that in a recent review in the Reader they mention the low prices at Kous Kous for the quality you get.

KC said...

There is of course nothing wrong with paying $15 for an entree, and I am happy to do so at many restaurants. I just didn't feel Kous kous merited such prices. Again as I said prehaps becasue this is the type of food we so often cook at home.
the reader article mentions some intersting appertizers which sound better value than the entrees. If we go back, this is seems the way to go.

As for the melting pot, I belive you pay for the whole experience- i don't remember havign so much fun as our night out at the Melting Pot.

Anonymous said...

in a recent NYT there was a story about how upscale restaurant entrees have hit the $40+ mark. people just seem to accept it as a sign of the times.

so i'm glad to see you make a comment about it. someone has to say, hey the food may be good, but i'm just not going to pay that much for it!

Anonymous said...

I tried this place for the first time this week. For the most part, the food justified the price, although I did expect the shrimp to taste better. I would not go back though. Our server was a little too friendly -- to the point of being annoying. Maybe it's a Moroccan-culture thing, but I do not expect to get the waiter's personal contact info on a slip of paper when I go to a restaurant.