there's more to life than spice
I am basically leader of the spicy food protest, so I was a bit coy when the invite to Tangierino Brasserie came through. However, I was naive in originally thinking that Moroccan cuisine is solely seasoned with white pepper, cayenne, cumin, and other dramatic spices. At Tangierino, there is a large variety of authentic dishes; some savory, sweet, and for all you spice lovers – some hot.
Let’s first talk about the decor. Tangierino, located in the heart of Charlestown, is a dim lit French- Moroccan brasserie and hookah bar. As soon as my friend and I walked through the front entrance, we could smell fruity hookah remnants (for those who are not a fan of hookah, the smell was not overpowering. In fact, once we were seated in the dining room the smell dwindled). The brasserie is dressed in jewel toned drapery and has authentic Moroccan touches throughout (like traditional hanging lanterns, Moroccan architecture, and vivid artwork).
Once seated, we studied the drink menu which featured a variety of beers, wines, and signature cocktails. We decided to both order the Moroccan mojito, which tasted very similar to a classic mojito however it contained Moroccan mint tea which gave the drink an extra kick of flavor. It was delicious!
For our appetizer, our server recommended the tuna tartar, which he said was a best seller. The tartar was ground down and served over cubed honey-mango, cucumber, and guacamole. The dish was drizzled in lemon juice. We really liked it – especially the flavors in the cubed mango that complimented the spice from the tuna.
For our main course, we toiled over all of the different meat offerings. Tangierino has a vast menu, but the stars of the show are their meat dish renditions. We decided to order and share the Tagine Dja and the Sultan’s Kadra with a side of French fries.
Wow, just wow.
The Tagine Dja is baked chicken stuffed with spinach and preserve lemon. The dish is topped with a Lemony sauce, sprinkled with green olives, and served over a bed of couscous. The chicken was perfectly cooked; it was moist and flavorful. The stuffing and sauce drizzle was great as well – I especially loved the addition of Kalamata olives.
The Sultan’s Kadra dish is composed of Za’atar spiced rack of lamb, three-cheese filled eggplant, wild mushrooms, figs, and apricots, served with a rosemary reduction. First of all, the lamb was exquisite. It was the perfect amount of tender and moist; they definitely mastered preparation and execution. The other elements on the plate really blended well together and gave the dish more flavor and depth.
Last but not least, for dessert we ordered the chocolate mousse roll and traditional pistachio and walnut baklava. The mousse roll, to our surprise, was not a roll of chocolate but rather a soft, whipped mousse served in a sundae cup. It was so incredibly rich and delicious. The baklava was well-done; it was both flaky and gooey with deep nutty flavors.
Between the smoky air, dramatic decor, and cultural dishes, you really get to experience true Moroccan authenticity at Tangierino. The cherry atop our whole experience, however, was the belly dance performance that surprised my friend I towards the end of our meal. The performer wove in and out of the lounge area and dining room dancing in traditional Moroccan style. What an experience! We loved it. Note the performances occur only on Friday and Saturday evenings.
All in all, this experience gets high ratings. I was glad to step out of my comfort zone and try different dishes than I am used to (the deviation from American cuisine is not actually that large). Biggest takeaway: there is more to Moroccan than overwhelming spice! Though, of course, they certainly have dishes with overwhelming spice…if you’re into that…
Hats off to Tangierino; we will certainly be back again soon. Shokran!
Visit their website, or follow them on social media @tangierino.