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Saffron

By November 2004Comments

What should a Moroccan restaurant look like? Casablanca, of course—Rick’s Café Américain or one of the movie’s other exotic locales. And Saffron, newly opened in Houston, does not disappoint. Dim lights threw mysterious shadows on the wall as four of us huddled together on banquettes and ottomans around a tile-topped table and tried to narrow our choices. Many dishes and ingredients recalled those of the Middle East—meaty kebabs, crisp filo, couscous, goat cheese, honey—but with Morocco’s distinctively rich spices and aromas. After much deliberation, we agreed on mrouzia—wonderfully tender braised lamb shank in a seductive cinnamon-and-almond sauce—and a pungent, long-simmered tagine of chicken with potatoes, olives, and preserved lemon. Dessert, a quince-paste tart with a light lemon-meringue topping, seemed both cosmopolitan and exotic. Bogey and Bergman would have approved. PATRICIA SHARPE

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