TravelNoise: Mekki, New York City
West Village is home to just about every wonderful type of food and shop you could imagine. In fact, if you’re not entirely familiar with what’s around you, you could get a little overwhelmed with all the options. And while we can’t exactly steer you away from that amazing happy hour special on tacos or the eerily-accurate psychic just a few steps off the train, we can tell you where you’ll find the best Moroccan food in the hood, and maybe in the city. Friends, it’s time to get acquainted with Mekki.
Nestled in the heart of the village, Mekki is a true gem. My guest and I walked in and immediately noticed the clean yet colorful restaurant layout with comfortable plush blue chairs and booths strategically placed throughout. They’ve got a happy hour till 7.30pm, which should be enough of a reason to stop over. On the walls lay shelves with jars of spices and cookbooks. The dim lighting topped the decor and made us feel almost too cozy in those chairs.
Our host came over quickly after we seated and talked us through the inventive drink menu, which was bursting with flavor. My guest went for the summer rose ($14), which included citrus vodka, watermelon, rose, pomegranate cordial, lime and soda, while I couldn’t help but try the Mekki old fashioned ($14) with muddled orange, barrel-aged butters, domaine du canton, bourbon. The summer rose is cirtusy and punchy with sweet notes of ginger while the old fashioned was sweet with a lovely orange aroma and taste.
Onto the food we went. We wanted to try everything, since the menu is so compartmentalized into types of Moroccan dishes. We started with the zaalouk ($12), which consisted of braised eggplant, roasted garlic, tomato concasse, the briwate ($13), a type of hot cheese pastry, and the shrimp Chermoula ($19) garlic, green chermoula and Moroccan olive oil. The zaalouk was super garlicky and oily in the best ways with super tender eggplant. The briwate was crispy, creamy and satisfying, and the shrimp chermoula was spicy and rich with tender shrimp and grilled aromatic bread.
Finally, we decided to split the lamb a la mounia ($36) — the appetizers filled us up substantially — and the dish came beautifully curated with Halawi dates, cipollini and camun. While the lamb was a little drier than I perhaps liked, it was well-spiced with perfectly cooked potatoes and sweet caramelized onions.
If you’re in the mood for Moroccan, you need to hightail it to Mekki. You’ll get all you crave and more. We know we did.
Address: 15 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011, USA