Monthly Archives: August 2013

Cafe Mogador, Brooklyn, NY

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Cafe Mogador IMG_0761

Category: Moroccan
Neighborhoods: East Village, Alphabet City

Address: 101 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

Phone: (212) 677-2226

5/5 stars

My family and I tried this restaurant last night. I was really excited to have Moroccan cuisine since I can’t really get it around my area. We made 7pm reservations but weren’t able to arrive until 7:30pm due to traffic. When we called, they said they couldn’t save the table but would prioritize us in getting a table. However, I guess it wasn’t too too busy and they still had the table opened up. The service was really fast, but not too fast which was nice.
The atmosphere was nice. The section we were in was a breezeway type area, which was neat, but as it became darker outside, the room was increasingly dark, making it too dark and hard to see each other and what we were eating. Additionally, the noise level wasn’t too bad, loud, but so that we didn’t have to really raise our voices too much to hear each other. Our waiter was nice and helpful, but the bus boy tried to take a couple dishes away that we were not finished with, without asking us first.
Now on to the food!
To begin, we ordered an appetizer of hummus and a salad with whole but separated romaine leaves, radish slivers, shaved parmesan cheese, and a mustard lemon vinaigrette. The hummus came with warmed pita flatbread that was spread with a bit of olive oil. The bread had a delicious flavor and airy texture, separating into 2 layers and had the perfect amount of olive oil. The hummus was of excellent quality, light, fresh, and lemony with notes of paprika and cumin. The salad was simple and the vinaigrette, which we had on the side had a strong mustard flavor, complimenting the salad well. My only criticism is that it was a little too small! (Especially since we shared it among the 3 of us and it was $8.
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For entrees, we ordered the special tagine, which was halibut in spiced tomato broth with some root vegetables, the casablanca tagine with lamb, and the grilled chicken kebab.
The halibut was tender and flavorful, but the broth was a bit too bland for my taste. Tasted like tomato and hot pepper.
The casablanca tagine was a stew with caramelized onions, chickpeas, and raisins with a lamb shank in it. The lamb was tender and flavorful, falling right off the bone. The stew was very flavorful, lending a fruity type richness, and when combined with the cous cous that was served on a plate on the side, the whole dish came together as a winner! Alone, the cous cous was very flavorful, seasoned well with spices and herbs, and not too salty at all.
The chicken was also superb! Charred on the grill just a bit with a fairly tender texture, it was very flavorful. It was also great when combined with the tzatziki sauce served on the side. The skewer of grilled peppers and cherry tomatoes was also very good. The rice was very well seasoned with herbs and not too salty. This also came with a cucumber, tomato herb salad that was delicious, fresh, crisp, and didn’t leave you with an oily mouth.
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Even though there were a few criticisms I had, I’m giving this place 5 stars because the food, which for me is the most important element, outshined any other criticism I had regarding the service or ambiance.
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Nova Mediterranean Grill, Villanova

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Nova Mediterranean Grill 

Category: Mediterranean

Address: 815 East Lancaster Ave
Villanova, PA 19085

Phone: (610) 525-4745

1/5 stars

I was really disappointed with Nova Grill after having dinner there tonight and will most likely will not return. I had much higher expectations since it was so highly rated on yelp.
I ordered the chicken kebab platter. There were about 6 small cubes of grilled chicken breast on a stick. When I went to remove them, the cubes fell apart and when I tasted them, the chicken was extremely dry and overcooked and not very flavorful at all. The tomato cucumber salad was very fair, kind of watery, and some bites actually tasted like rotten tomatoes. I definitely would not agree that all their ingredients are fresh. The rice pilaf was fair, it had some flavor, but had dry texture and had that old taste to it. I chose the multi-grain pita bread, which they obviously do not make in-house since it was pulled out of bags labeled gyro pita bread. I actually enjoyed the flavor of this bread and it was nice and soft, but when heated, they burnt some of the bread.
I also chose the tzatziki sauce which basically just tasted like really thick yogurt.
My friend enjoyed his dinner though, a chicken gyro, but had mostly the same impression when he tried mine.
Maybe other dishes here are decent, but unfortunately, this experience does not make me want to come back even to try other things.

Kanella, Philadelphia

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Kanella 

Category: Greek
Neighborhood: Washington Square West

Address: 1001 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 922-1773

3/5 stars

Truthfully, I thought the food was going to be better because of all the raving reviews from people and Philly Magazine.
My friend and I ordered the Halloumi Saganaki as an appetizer. I found the cheese to be a bit dry and the salad (which was essentially parsley, mint, and tomato with 3 pieces of fig) was drenched in oil and mostly tasted like parsley.
We also shared the Grilled lamb kofta. The texture was moist, but the different ingredients in the kofta (pistachios, apricot, and different spices) were hidden behind a ton of salt. The lamb would have been very good if it just had enough salt to bring out the flavors of the meat and other ingredients. I did enjoy the pickled okra, but thought the lentil tabuleh was also very oily as well as the flatbread it was served on. The yogurt also tasted like sour cream. It definitely helped to make a sandwich out of the ingredients and in this way the yogurt mellowed out the saltiness of the meat.
I also thought the dishes were definitely overpriced for the portion size.
The service was fine. And we ate outside under a canopy in the rain which worked out except that we could smell the sewer several feet away.
All in all, it was alright but I probably would not return and find other Greek restaurants that don’t drench their food in oil and salt.
              Halloumi Saganaki
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