Warm towels start off a seven–course meal marathon.
If we had gone to Fez on a night with rowdy crowds and belly dancers, this would probably be a very different review. However, since an impending snowstorm on the night of our dinner scared away the typical Tuesday night patrons, we were left alone at Fez with only seven courses of Moroccan food and a very eager waiter as our company.
Fez is a place not only to enjoy traditional Moroccan fare, but also to transport yourself to an African land far far away, all while on a convenient South Philly side street. Though the food is satisfying for a large, hungry crowd, those who are looking for a meal that can stand on its own could do better elsewhere.
The seven–course Fez Feast ($25 per person) is comprised of salads, meats, savory pastries and desserts. Waiters will start you off by washing your hands in a large silver bowl, drying your hands with warm towels in a lavish ritual that is contrived but still enjoyable. The tomato–based harira soup that began the meal lacked flavor and tasted generic. The salad course that followed, however, was a refreshing plate of spiced carrots, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and a thick eggplant spread.
Following that was the chicken bastilla. Sheets of filo dough were layered with a mix of finely chopped chicken, spices and almonds, which was then topped with a generous layer of powdered sugar. The flavors were distinct, and the powdered sugar and filo added a surprisingly sweet counterpart to the heavier chicken. The vegetarian couscous, however, was bland and uninteresting.
Fez’s accomplished cooking technique was highlighted in the meat dishes, such as the spicy chicken and lamb with honey and almonds. Although the flavors in both dishes were too mild and muddled, the meat itself was tender, buttery and cooked beautifully. The baklava cigars and fresh mint tea for dessert were also executed well and were a refreshing end to the meal.
At $25 per person, the Feast is a reasonable price to pay for a hungry customer, especially when one accounts for the traditional Moroccan atmosphere including floor pillows, hookah and belly dancers (smaller parties can enjoy dishes a la carte, but only during the week). In the end, Fez’s dynamic atmosphere compensates for mediocre food.
FEZ MOROCCAN RESTAURANT
620 S. 2nd St.
Don’t Miss: Chicken bastilla
Skip: Veggie couscous