Monday, April 2, 2012


          Tangierinos is a Moroccan restaurant with a lounge and hookah bar downstairs. It’s located in a small Charleston neighborhood with an old New England feel. The atmosphere was fantastic and perfect date spot with dim lighting, lots of candles, rose petals on the tables, couches and private booths with curtains around them, and belly dancers that come by the tables.

          I went recently for restaurant week and had a great experience. The menu was split into two sections, old (traditional) and new world (more creative and eclectic). We tried a mix of both, and each ordered something different for every course. We started with the Sahara shrimp and short rib appetizers. The shrimp were grilled and served with a spicy tomato sauce, toasted crostini, and a Moroccan vegetable spring roll. The beef short ribs were braised in an apricot and prune sauce, and served with crispy eggplant. Both were delicious, but very different. The shrimp was light and reminded me a little of Indian tandoori dishes, while the short ribs were much more rich and hearty.

          For entrees, we tried two lamb dishes: the couscous bidaoui and sultan’s kadra. The couscous bidaoui was a lamb shank braised in honey and rosemary, with a seven vegetable couscous. The lamb was falling off the bone, and the couscous was the best I’ve ever had – it was very fine, cooked to just the right consistency and tenderness. The sultan’s kadra was a rack of lamb, grilled to a perfect medium rare, served with cheese filled eggplant, mushrooms, apricots, and figs. The whole dish was also very good, but my favorite part was the eggplant.

        For dessert we tried the chocolate fondant and sorbet (which were the only two options on the restaurant week menu). The fondant was a slice of dark chocolate cake, with layers of chocolate fudge and raspberry. The sorbet was two scoops, one mango and one coconut. These were both good, but didn’t stand out in terms of concept or execution. I would have rather tried some of the more creative options on the regular dinner menu.

          After dinner, we went downstairs to check out the hookah lounge. They offered to seat us in the main lounge, where it was crowded and the tables were very close together. When we asked if there was a different table, they brought us back to the VIP area and explained the price was $40 instead of $30. We stayed for the experience but both thought it was a little overpriced. Overall, we had a great meal and experience, but both agreed we’d definitely go back for dinner but skip the hookah.

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