Trinity Groves is undeniably the hot spot in Dallas at the moment with new restaurants opening at a pace of every two weeks. This makes for exciting times for those that follow the latest restaurant trends, or those merely looking for a fresh take on dinner or lunch. Souk opened its doors last week, and is operated by Yaser Khalaf, the genius behind Baboush, Medina, Farnatchi, and Ketchup. And in about 8 months from now Khalaf will premier his own bakery in Uptown Dallas that will feature many European-style pastries and dishes.
The huge surprise behind Souk was when we learned that Najat Kaanache was named executive chef and partner at Souk. Khalaf heard that Kaanache was to leave Private Social just before it closed and was actually headed to New York. Kaanache was born in Spain to Morrocon parents, and understands the cuisine that Khalaf wants to put out at Souk. He called for a meeting and decided on the spot that she should partner up with him at the Trinity Groves restaurant. It took a trip back to New York before she decided this would be a good opportunity.
Kaanache is a bit eccentric, but displays plenty of talent when it comes to her Moroccan cuisine. This is food she grew up eating, and Khalaf said these flavors are actually more authentic than his flagship restaurant, Baboush. Many of the dishes are street food, and the restaurant is set up to be a glimpse of a bazaar with most items and fixtures found at the restaurant are for sale, including the interesting lighting.
The restaurant is broken down into various ‘rooms’ separated by a tapestry of thinly veiled cloth. There is also a very private room located in the back of the restaurant that seats about eight people comfortably, and has an eagle eye glimpse of the kitchen. The atmosphere is very cozy and rich with mysterious lighting that gives you an other world feel.
If you are going to Souk looking for a variation on Baboush you might be disappointed. The dishes may sound similar, for example the lamb tagine ($15), but the recipes are wholly unique. Souk is all about Kaanache, whereas Baboush recipes come from Khalaf’s family and augmented to suit the tastes of Americans. Both are supremely delicious, and should be sampled to compare and contrast tastes. For the small crowd you bring there are tasting menus that serve up to 10 courses, and even a Moorish Paella made in a wood burning oven that feeds six for $45, and requires a 24 hour notice. This is a perfect way to have a Moroccan meal.
Look for belly dancers and very soon hookahs to spin the night under the stars on the massive patio. Coincidentally, these are the same stars that brighten the night’s sky in Morocco.
Lunch service starts next week with a brunch menu to follow.