My wonderful friend Sara planned a birthday dinner for me at Zerza Zerza, a Moroccan restaurant seemingly conceptualized for groups. They have a three course party dinner menu ($30 per person) with a nice amount of choices and the dining room on the second floor was serving 4 groups (including ours) last night. Our party of 9 looked small next to the party of 12, so I was impressed that our dishes were all served at roughly the same time. There was a long lag between appetizers and entrees, and our waitress confused one of our appetizers and one dessert, but they did try very hard to be a pleasant service staff.

I liked the Grilled Merguez, Spicy Lamb Sausages with a poached egg and chickpeas. Some of the sausages were a little burnt but they were very flavorful. The poached egg in the center could’ve taken this dish up a notch if the yolk was runny but alas it was not, cooked to medium.

The Meze Plate was a generous portion of Matbucha, Babaghanough, and Hummus. Everyone seemed to favor the Matbucha, a cumin flavored spinach and chickpea mixture, reminiscent of Saag without being creamy. The Babaghanough was much more of a Moroccan version of caponata, with identifiable pieces of eggplant, rather than mashed, but it was still pretty good, and the hummus was average as well.

The pita was decent but necessary for the Meze Plate.

I loved that the tagine dishes were served in actual tagines. (I really want to buy one but they’re expensive and take up so much space.)

The Tagine Lamb Tfaya was very sweet, with tender meat and an enormous amount of raisins (the largest I’ve ever seen) and chickpeas. There was a very subtle heat that built up by the end of the dish.

The Chicken Tagine with preserved lemon, potatoes, and Moroccan olives was also impressively tender and well flavored.

The Mrouzia Beef Short Ribs were also pretty sweet. The meat fell right off the bone. All of these dishes were served with a bowl of plain cous cous.

The Chermoula Rubbed Wild Salmon was a bit over-cooked but the dryness is masked by the sauce and spinach mixture.

The Fig Ice Cream has nice chunks of fig in it but it’s a bit too sweet.

The Fruit Cup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is pretty bad. The ice cream is fine but the fruit is not so fresh.

Luckily, Angie brought two beautiful cakes with candles that spelled out “Happy Birthday”.

The Chocolate Cake, from Koryodang Koryodang, is very Asian bakery style, which is ultra light and fluffy, much less sweet (my preference) than American style cakes. The spongy texture with layers of cream was very nice but I often find that there isn’t enough chocolate flavor in these cakes.

The Red Velvet Cake, from Cafe Muse Cafe Muse, was a wonderful color, really moist, and the frosting was great. There wasn’t any chocolate flavor in this cake though which Red Velvet really should.

Zerza is really a good spot for groups/birthday parties. It’s affordable for everyone, large portions of good, not amazing food, and you do
n’t feel ultra cramped. They will refrigerate the cakes for you, set up the candles and light them, and serve them, with no plating charges. Keep them in mind if your sick of going to Chinatown of Koreatown for all your group parties.

posted by jessica at 12:52 PM Filed under Coffee, Tea, and Dessert, Moroccan, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.