Review: Tangierino Restaurant, Charlestown, MA

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | June 2nd, 2010 | Restaurant Reviews

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to have a weekend of celebrating my birthday.  The actual event was on Saturday, but the celebrations began with cake on Friday night, continued with breakfast in bed on Saturday, and culminated with a romantic dinner for two on Saturday night.  As an adult, I don’t know the last time I had this much fanfare for my birthday.  There could be a reason behind this, as this birthday was one that ended in a zero. . .

The dinner for two was planned by my husband.  Although we have a handful of wonderful upscale restaurants and bistros that we enjoy, he wanted to find something new for our night.  With a little help from online searching and friends’ recommendations, he chose Tangierino Restaurant.  It definitely was a unique experience that offered many tasty dishes.

We were seated promptly at our reservation time of 9 o’clock in the wonderfully decorated dining room. Small round tables were clustered along the sides of the room.  At the center were booths for larger parties that had sheer curtains lining the entrances.  Although the tables for two were fairly close, it didn’t feel like our neighboring parties encroached on our space.

Once seated, we were provided with the opportunity to cleanse our hands courtesy of a busboy with a pitcher and towels.  We then were given options for our drinking water.  Glasses of water were delivered, as were hummus and bread.  Nibbling on this, we began to make our choices for dining.

We started our meals with an appetizer to share, Merguez.  This Moroccan spiced ground lamb was wrapped in phyllo dough and served with smoked eggplant and Kalamata olives.  It was the perfect, savory way to begin our meal.

For the second course, each of us ordered a salad.  I chose the Tangier, which was mixed baby greens, mango, cherry tomatoes, and radish with an olive oil vinaigrette.  Although I forgot to order my dressing on the side, it still was delightfully light and had a great combination of sweet and savory.  My husband ordered the Summer Salad that consisted of diced tomatoes, onions, celery, cucumber, pickled turnip, and olive oil vinaigrette.  Served in a cylindrical shape, it was pleasing to the eye and the palate.

Lamb was the theme of our main course dishes.  My husband opted for Couscous Royal, a covered dish that included braised lamb shank and spiced merguez over 7 vegetable couscous.  The lamb was incredibly tender, and the couscous was full of flavor.  I ordered the  8 oz Sultan’s Kadra, which was an entrée of  za’atar spiced lamb tenderloin, cheese filled eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, figs, apricots,and rosemary reduction.  Most of my entrée was delectable.  The only part I did not enjoy was the lamb.  I should have known when I ordered and asked for the lamb to be cooked slightly more than medium.  The waitress frowned at that request.  Needless to say my lamb was still quite pink but also a bit on the tough side.  However, the rest of my meal was quite filling and so delicious, I didn’t mind not eating the lamb.

Our stomachs were quite full, but for the sake of sampling the entire menu, we chose a dessert, Mascarpone Cheesecake.  This dish was unimpressive.  We shouldn’t have ventured into the arena of desserts.  It was flavorless and overly dry.  While I appreciate that cheesecake can be made quite dry, this cheesecake lacked anything that would deem it a success.  On our next trip to Tangierino, we will skip the dessert course and have some coffee instead.

Overall, the dining experience was memorable and enjoyable, due to both the occasion and the location.  For excellent Moroccan food, Tangierino Restaurant was an excellent choice.  Kudos to my husband for his diligent research!

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