Tangierino in Charlestown

This week is restaurant week in Boston, and like every year we like to try a new restaurant as well as return to some of our favorites. Due to the not so pleasant economical situation we decided to limit our restaurant choices to two this time, one new and one vintage. Tangierino was our new. It’s a Moroccan restaurant with influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

First, I was a bit annoyed that they did not have their restaurant week menu posted online to view (well there was a link that was dead). When we arrived at the restaurant, I thought the decor was a bit over the top, it was very dark, lots of colored drapes everywhere and the restaurant is like a maze. The hostess took us in a zig zag to the back of the restaurant to seat us by the window and there was no way I could find my way back to the restrooms. Another drawback was the fact that they only served the restaurant week menu where other restaurants give you the option of ordering from their regular menu if the restaurant week options do not appeal to you. Our waitress was trying to convince us that during restaurant week, restaurants only serve what is on the prix-fixe menu, I decided to let it go and not argue with her.

I started off with a lychee champagne drink that did not really taste like lychee at all, but was still good. For appetizer I got the lamb in phylo dough with an eggplant vegetable side, it was very good. The lamb wasn’t too strong, the phylo wasn’t very oily and I typically stay away from eggplant as it tends to get mushy when cooked, but it was mixed very well with spices. Alex got the tuna tartar for appetizer which was severely lacking in tuna. It was mostly diced up cucumber and mango with some guacamole and what I think was Russian dressing on top. There was very little tuna. In fact this is what it was supposed to look like, and I am now kicking myself that I didn’t take a picture of what we actually got, it looked nothing like that.

For my entree I got duck breast with mashed potatoes, and I was fairly unimpressed. It was delicious but a very small portion. In fact, it was three small, medium thick slices of duck and a small round of mashed potatoes. The duck was very tasty but the mashed potatoes were nothing special, there was no Middle Eastern or Moroccan twist to them, just regular mashed potatoes. Also on my plate was a single cooked fig and a single cooked apricot. Gladly, I have a smaller appetite so this sized portion was just right for me after the appetizer I had had. Alex had the chicken with couscous for entree and it was about five times the size of my meal. He got two large pieces of chicken and a very large helping of couscous with plenty of seasoned vegetables on top. It was a very tasty meal although you could get the feeling that it was meant to have more spice and more of a kick to it. Maybe they assumed people couldn’t handle the spice and made it bland.

Dessert is my absolute favorite meal, and it will make or break a restaurant experience for me. Unfortunately, it broke this one. First there were only two dessert options, flourless chocolate cake and fruit sorbet. I went with the flourless chocolate cake mostly because I knew Alex would go for the sorbet. Now, if you’ve had the flourless chocolate cake at McCormick and Schmick’s you can only imagine how excited I was to try this one. Sadly, this one was nothing even close to McCormick and Schmick’s, in fact our waitress was incorrect in saying that it was a cake, it is actually a souffle as stated on their menu. Had I known this, I would not have ordered it. When it came out, the “cake” was warm much like a souffle would be and the ice cream on the side was half melted. I took one bite of the “cake” and was done. It tasted like chocolate gelatin, it was one of the worst desserts I have had. I ate what was left of the ice cream on my plate and shared the sorbet. The sorbet was very good, watermelon and tangerine. It was sweet and tarty and very fruity.

Overall, the food was good but I felt for restaurant week they could have done a better job especially since they were not serving anything from their regular menu. The dessert was a big disappointment. I would give them another chance but I would order off of the regular menu and probably not get any of the items I had for restaurant week.

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