Moroccan cooking the way Moroccans would actually cook it, but in the East Village. Pop into this quaint bistro for a small-plates feast like nowhere else in the city.It's a hard task sometimes to find an authentic meal served the same way it would be in its country of origin. Luckily, on a recent walk through the East Village, we made the decision to hop below street level and head into Zerza Mediterrano. This quaint bistro serves Moroccan cuisine the way Moroccan's consume it—free of bells and whistles, bravado and belly dancing. Couscous is undoubtedly the house specialty: Vegetables Couscous sees veggies simmering in the bottom of a double pot while aromatic steam softens suspended couscous above. For connoisseurs of the small plate, we suggest the grilled merguez (spicy lamb sausage with poached eggs in a tomato sauce), Saganaki (marinated and fried feta cheese drizzled with honey and sesame seed) or the Moroccan Cigars (phylo rolls Moroccan spiced ground beef with harissa aioli). Charismatic owner Radouane Eljaouhari describes the skill used to craft Zerza's dishes as the type that a Moroccan mother would pass on to her daughter. What executive chef around these parts possesses such training? It's Radouane's own mother, Taika. Zerza eschews show business in lieu of family business. Here, real culture is a requisite for fine dining.
Grilled Merguez, $8
Moroccan Cigars, $7 Vegetables Couscous, $13.95
Sunday, noon to 11 p.m.
Monday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tuesday - Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight
Friday & Saturday, noon to 1 a.m.