MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
This glamorous outpost at the base of the PacBell building introduces the unique soul of Chef/owner Mourad Lahlou’s eponymous restaurant. The neighborhood's food-obsessed techies along with tourists flock to this boldly designed space, replete with soaring ceilings, glowing central columns and a superb (suspended) wine cellar. The crowd is contented and lively, and while the servers fit the bill, the sommelier is especially impressive. Chef Lahlou's expression of Moroccan cuisine is peppered with local and contemporary influences like maple and brown butter, as well as more traditional inflections such as charmoula and preserved lemon. Diners may commence with the basteeya, a traditional Moroccan pastry made modern with finely shredded duck and composed with verjus crème fraîche, compressed pear, edible flowers as well as cocoa paste. Couscous is jazzed up with savory brown butter and a host of vegetables, then hit with spicy harissa for a slight kick. Even dessert comes packed with flavor. For instance, the slender slice of pistachio cake set with candied pink grapefruit, fresh grapefruit segments, a quenelle of tangerine sorbet and orange-infused cream, is lush and delicious.