Showing posts with label casablanca. Show all posts
Showing posts with label casablanca. Show all posts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rockin' the Casbah

I've already done an official Bluff City Vegan Eats post about Casablanca, a Moroccan/Middle Eastern restaurant. But that post was from 2011 when Casablanca only had one location on Poplar in East Memphis. Now there is a second location in Cordova on Germantown Parkway, and it recently changed its name to Casbah to distinguish itself from its sister restaurant. Same menu, same owners, different name. (Yes, I know The Clash are stuck in your head now. You're welcome.).

For those who don't live here, Cordova is way out in the 'burbs, so I don't get out there often. To a Midtowner like me, Cordova seems to be all strip malls and chain restaurants, and about the only thing that drags me out that way are the handful of friends I have who live there. One of those is my friend Cindy. We haven't seen one another in a bit, and Cindy eats meat (and she can be a bit of a picky eater). But the one thing we both love is Middle Eastern fare.

So we met for dinner at Casbah last night. It was my first time checking out the Cordova location. As most things in Cordova are, it's located in a strip mall. But inside, you're transported to another land. The decor is much fancier here than in the older East Memphis location.

As for the food, it's all the same! Cindy ordered their locally famous ginger-sage tea. It's supposed to be the bee's knees. But I'm just not a tea girl, so I opted for Turkish coffee. Few things in the world can top coffee with cardamom. Or anything with cardamom, really.

I typically order the falafel sandwich (called the Big Mac of the East) at the other place, so I decided to try something different — the Vegetarian Platter.

Now, this typically comes with spanakopita, but that contains cheese. So I asked to leave that off and sub with extra falafel. On the plate are lots of falafel, stuffed grape leaves with carrots and squash, and hummus. A basket of pita was served on the side.

They have AMAZING falafel! I won't say it's the best in town. That honor would go to Al-Rayan. But it's close. I'd put it in second place. Definitely the best falafel that side of East Parkway. My only complaint was there simply wasn't enough hummus. I like to dip my falafel and my pita in hummus, and there were only about two tablespoons here. Luckily, Cindy shared her Baba Ganoush. Casbah definitely wins the award for best baba ganoush in Memphis. Hands down.

Here's an old pic of Baba Ganoush from a visit to their other location. I forgot to take one last night.

Note to self: Next time I order the Vegetarian Platter, order a side of this!

I'm adding the address for Casbah to the Casablanca entry in my Memphis Vegan Dining Guide, but in case you wanna know now, it's 1890 N. Germantown Pkwy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Casablanca

Happy Halloween! Expect several Halloween food-related posts in the coming days, but on the last day of Vegan Mofo, I've got a review for my Bluff City Vegan Eats Series.

For the most part, all Middle Eastern joints in Memphis seem about the same to me. Casablanca, a casual sit-down style Middle Eastern restaurant in East Memphis, is pretty stand-out though. Not my fave, but certainly up there. Maybe my second fave.

The food is amazing, especially their Baba Ganoush. In fact, Casablanca may serve the best creamy, roasted eggplant dip in town:

Their Hummus is good too. Creamy, tahini-y, chickpea-ish. The olive oil drizzled on top actually comes from the owner's dad's olive oil business in Jerusalem. It's also sold at Casablanca by the bottle:

There's really only one vegan entree, but you could certainly make a meal out of the vegan appetizers too (the aforementioned spreads, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, tabouli, the usual stuff). I usually stick with the Big Mac of the Middle East:

That's what they call this monster falafel-filled pita (and no, I couldn't wait to take a bite before I snapped this picture). Their falafel is warm, with a crispy exterior and a soft, savory interior, and it's stuffed into a pita with lettuce, carrots, and onions. Unfortunately, Casblanca's signature tahini sauce isn't vegan. It contains yogurt. And for some crazy reason, the Big Mac doesn't come with hummus spread inside. So I always order a side of hummus for spreadin'.

Other "vegetarian" entrees at Casablanca contain eggs or cheese. Ugh. Thank god falafel is vegan. The most charming thing about this place isn't really the tasty food though. The owner, Aimer, is usually at the restaurant visiting tables, and he's always so chipper and grateful for his customers' business. He'll stop by a table and ask everyone how their food is, crack jokes, and make people laugh. A visit to Casablanca is 50 percent food and 50 percent experience.

Casablanca is located at 5030 Poplar, Suite 7. Call 901-725-8557 or go to the website here.