Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kous Kous

Kous Kous
3940 4th Ave, # 110
San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 295-5560
http://www.kouskousrestaurant.com/

This weekend, my friend Steve invited BF and me to try out Kous Kous with him. He had gotten a groupon certificate for the restaurant and saw that it got really good reviews from yelp. I'm always excited to try out new places and Moroccan food sounded like a lot of fun.

Prior to this occasion, I've only had Moroccan food once. It was near Disney World during high school. I remember there being belly dancing and huge platters of cous cous.

The restaurant is located downstairs on 4th Ave, making it a little hard to spot. The interior is very dark, which I wish I had known about beforehand, because I did not come prepared with a camera that could handle the dark ambiance. As a result, the pictures I took are pretty grainy. Grainy enough that they kind of make me cringe and make me want to go back just so I can rephotograph the food.

The menu consists of two main types of dishes: tagine, which are slow cooked stews and served with cous cous; and brochettes, which are grilled skewers.  In addition to the regular menu, they offer a family style tasting for $30/person. You get to sample all the tapas on the menu, as well choose two entrees to share, and a dessert of strawberries and oranges with a orange honey blossom glaze.

Since the family tasting allowed us to sample the most food, we opted to try that out. For our entrees, we chose the lamb shank tagine, which was highly recommend on yelp and by our waiter. For our second entree, we had originally wanted the beef brochette (Char grilled filet mignon skewers with ginger, garlic and fresh herbs marinade), but they were out of it that night. Instead we chose the seafood tagine special of the night.

We were first presented with a complimentary plate of olives and carrots. Normally I hate olives, but I didn't mind these. The way they were cooked and seasoned, the olive taste was much more mild. I also liked the cooked carrots.

Then we were served the vegetarian sampler with pita bread. It consisted of three items: Zaalouk- Roasted Eggplant flavored with cumin, olive oil and lemon preserveKhizzou- Caramelized carrots with roasted garlic and ginger; Shak-Shouka- Roasted tomato and marinated bell pepper

With all the pita bread, this was a pretty filling starter. I think we all liked the zaalouk the best, though all three were enjoyable.

Then we were given a B’stila roll (Baked Stuffed Phylo)- Herb saffron chicken, orange blossom water, honey, cinnamon, almonds.  This was interesting to me. The outside was dusted with powder sugar, but the inside was a savory taste. The crust was very delicate. I didn't really love this though.

Our main entrees were served with a large platter of cous cous as well as fresh baked bread. I really loved the cous cous. I've had cous cous a few times and have been pretty indifferent to it. But this one I really enjoyed. There were lots of flavors inside that made this really tasty. It is garnished with raisins, which I thought I wouldn't enjoy (I don't usually like curries and other foods garnished with raisins), but I didn't mind them in this cous cous.

The lamb shank tagine was a must order according to our waiter. I had been interested since I love lamb, but I was hesitant because it seemed like a sweet dish as it is served with a honey sauce. When I tasted it though, I was pleasantly surprised. The dish is subtly sweet, but I didn't mind at all. The lamb shank was so wonderfully tender. The flavors of the honey and whatever else they used matched the lamb perfectly. I can see now why this dish is so popular. This is definitely going to be my dish to order next time I come here.

The seafood tagine was served in a tomato broth and consisted of large chunks of fish and shrimp. The dish was pretty good, but not nearly as good as the lamb. Most likely, I would not order this again, and would opt to try something else next time. 

We were so full from our appetizers that we barely had room for our entrees. We ended up having quite a bit of leftovers

Dessert was a bowl of strawberries and oranges with a orange blossom glaze. I think there was also honey in the glaze and some cinnamon. The fruit was very sweet with the glaze and was quickly gobbled up.

All in all, it was a good experience. I will definitely visit this place again. Next time, I probably won't do the full tasting because it was simply too much food. I'd rather just go straight to the main entree.

Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro on Urbanspoon

 

14 Responses to “Kous Kous”

  1. 1

    Rosa — August 3, 2010 @ 8:13 am

    Yum! I love lamb as well. The next time I’m in Gaslamp (probably next Comic-con), I will have to come here!

  2. 2

    MrM — August 3, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    mmMMmmm!
    Moroccan is one of my favorites! The only restaurant I’ve been to is Marrakesh in La Jolla and, although good, its not the greatest and it is way more expensive than Kous Kous.
    This looks more like the flavors I crave in Moroccan cusine. The Lamb Tagine looks especially good. I can tell by the roasted almonds on top that its done right.
    I wonder if they could make something special for me. I really love Couscous Tfaya…a chicken couscous that with sauce and chicken prepared similarly to your lamb tagine. It is a really lovely dish and the only place I can get it is in my kitchen.
    =)

  3. 3

    Kirbie — August 3, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    Hi MrM- I don’t know too much about Moroccan food but I really enjoyed this place, so you should definitely try it out.

  4. 4

    Kirbie — August 3, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    If you like lamb, I think you’ll like the lamb shank tagine. It’s actually in Hillcrest though. So not within walking distance to CC.

  5. 5

    caninecologne — August 3, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    hi kirbie – did you use the groupon for this? I bought one $40 worth for $20. i haven’t used it yet but it expires in jan 2011, so i have a lot of time.
    i like the spices in moroccan food, but i don’t like lamb.
    this post is a great preview for me and bert (when we finally do go).

  6. 6

    caninecologne — August 3, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    me again, duh. yes, you guys used the groupon for it. you can tell i didn’t read it carefully! :)

  7. 7

    Kirbie — August 4, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

    Hehe, it’s okay. Yes, we did use groupon, and there were no restrictions using it. Too bad you don’t like lamb, but they have a lot of chicken and beef entrees too. I hope you enjoy this place asmuch as I did.

  8. 8

    caninecologne — August 4, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    hi kirbie – i think i’ll like the place. i really like the flavors in moroccan food. my husband will eat the lamb too. we’re going to go eventually. i just hate parking in hillcrest. especially on a friday or saturday? ugh!

  9. 9

    jenny — August 5, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

    We love kous kous, Moumen always looks out for us. One other dish that my meat eating friends like is the lamb tanjia, a slow cooked dish with preserved lemons. I really like the harissa soup too…

  10. 10

    Kirbie — August 5, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    Yes, parking in Hillcrest does suck. Though it’s not too bad near Kous Kous. Have you been to Bread & Cie? It’s really close to Bread & Cie, and there is this parking garage located next to Bread & Cie. it costs money, but it’s not too bad. We went on a Sunday, and found street parking right across the street, which was nice.

  11. 11

    Kirbie — August 5, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    Oh, I’ll have to try the lamb tanjia next time. I really loved this place. I want to go back soon!

  12. 12

    Kous Kous | Online REL — November 5, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

    [...] for the restaurant and saw that it … Continue reading → Continue reading here: Kous KousKirbie’s Cravings » Kous [...]

  13. 13

    Miriam — February 21, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    Best place evaaaaaaaaaaa ! love it we went on valentines day and everything was perfect, the food, the owner, the mood…the people….the drinks…wow cant wait to come back again :)

    • Kirbie replied: — February 22nd, 2012 @ 10:01 am

      Wow, great to hear you are such a fan of this place!

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