A couple weeks ago, Vegan Girl got my taste buds a-tingling with her review of Baboush, the new Moroccan & Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in West Village. Everything sounded so fresh and delicious that I had to try it for myself, but also venture into territory that might make Vegan Girl hate me—the meaty side of the menu.
First of all, the tiny space accomplishes exactly what owners Sam and Yaser intended: to create a bit of what they call “Arabian Nights” romance in the heart of Dallas. Face away from the windows and all the shirtless frat boys heading out for their evening run and look toward the bar, and it truly does feel like you’re in a different world. Stunning fabrics adorn the walls, ornate tufted stools surround the center tables, and gorgeous lanterns hang from overhead.
The soundtrack of Moroccan and Eastern Mediterranean tunes is a nice touch, especially when a cover of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” wafts softly from the speakers with an unexpected sitar accompaniment. Very nice indeed.
All those elements combine to enhance what arrives at the table: impressive plates filled with exotic spice and love from the kitchen. Yaser insists he wants dining at Baboush to feel like being at someone’s home and their hospitality translates from the greeting at the door to the welcoming food on every plate.
Hard as my dining companion and I tried to stick to just the meats, we ended up with quite a few great veggie dishes, too. But I’ll just share pics of our favorites because Vegan Girl has already described them in delicious detail.
So here goes the rest. Grilled beef kebabs are marinated in a sweet-tart pomegranate molasses, finished off with oregano, cumin and fresh garlic. The tender beef is cooked to perfection and unlike any steak within a five mile radius. Grilled shrimp kebabs featured nice meaty shrimp marinated in Moroccan dry seafood spices then served with tomato chermoula (a mixture of oil, herbs, lemon juice and spices) and tabouleh.
Saving the best for last, the Lick Your Plate prize goes to the chicken shawarma with hummus. Spicy marinated chicken is bursting with shawarma spices, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil atop what the waiter describes as “the best hummus in the world.” It was good on its own, but here with the chicken it’s among the best things I’ve ever eaten. Spooned generously into tender-crispy pita bread, this is absolutely craveable and exactly what I’m ordering when I return there tonight.
Nice touches like Moroccan wines pair well with the dishes and provide that wonderful can’t-get-this-everywhere kind of vibe that a place like this needs to flourish. Unique cocktails incorporate some unique flavors like mint, green tea, and orange blossom water for flavor profiles not found at every local bar. All without the typical Dallas cocktail price tag of $10+. Here, they’re a modest eight bucks.
Dallas definitely has its share of Mediterranean restaurants, each with its own merits, but no menu tour has been as consistently satisfying as the one at Baboush, or featured so many signature Moroccan dishes. So whether you’re feelin’ veggie, legumey, or just plain meaty, you can’t go wrong. To paraphrase that other Morrocan-set masterpiece, Casablanca, I’m confident this is the beginning of a beautiful culinary friendship.Baboush Market & Bar, West Village 636 McKinney Ave Suite 160 (Don’t be fooled by the McKinney address. Baboush technically sits on Cityplace West, directly across from the main shopping complex—between Brooks Brothers and Cork.) 214-599-0707