Last night, the Lower East Side's newest restaurant and hookah lounge Casablanca (189 East 3rd Street) by Amar Patel officially opened its doors. The Moroccan experience pays homage to the classic film, while embodying the cool, hip vibe of Downtown Manhattan.
Le Cordon Bleu-trained Executive Chef Wesley Wobles joined forces with master mixologist Artemio Vasquez to create a mixed-fusion cuisine to delight your taste buds and intrigue your senses. The menu includes a delightful small plates section featuring braised lamb shank with caramelized onion and fig jam compote, zucchini cakes with preserved lemon yogurt sauce, and lollipop wings with sambal glaze and Roquefort dip. Main entrees range from lamb moussaka with layered eggplant and sliced potatoes, to pan seared monkfish with ginger saffron broth and steak frites.
As you walk through its 200-year old doors imported from India and painted to reflect the modern touch, you come across the upstairs restaurant that is cozy and understatedly sophisticated. The design work is eye-catching, with an intricate mural of blues and teals over whitewashed white tiles and vintage Casablanca memorabilia. The lighting is framed with Moroccan lanterns, and modular teal bar stools surround the bar. The underground speakeasy lounge, named Fes Down after the third largest city in Morocco, will give guests a traditional Moroccan experience like no other in New York City.
Come for the food and dining experience, but stay for the hookah. Traditional hookah is brought to your table and are art pieces unto themselves. Standing from the floor about two-feet high, the beautiful vessels are stunning. Choose from a well-rounded and fun selection of tobacco-free flavors and signature herbal blends including Banana Split, Melon Mania, Gummy Bear, Sour Patch Kids and Pan Masala.