When I decided to take my grandparents to Le Tassili on Rue Amiral Mouchez in the 14ème arrondissement, around the corner from my dorm, I had big blogging plans.
Because I love this restaurant. I love everything about it. I love the host and owner of the restaurant, who concludes every exchange with “Bienvenue! Très heureux de vous accueillir!” (Welcome! Very happy to welcome you!) I love the sweet, sweet mint tea, and the chick peas and stewed vegetables that come with every meal. I love the hilarious mish-mosh of the decor, from the mismatched lamps to the oriental rugs all over everything (we still call them oriental rugs, right? or is that politically incorrect now?), to the Kiwanis Club flags from all over the world.
And all of that is before we even got our food. Admittedly, we ordered a bit too much. We started with the ratatouille, which I remembered as being truly awesome from the first time. It was still awesome, but I think there was something charmed about wandering in from the bitter cold to have hot warmly-spiced Moroccan food.
If I didn’t already love Le Tassili for the reasons I listed above, I would love it for getting me to eat lamb, post-lamb stew disaster (long story short, I once ordered lamb stew meat from Peapod and when I opened the package it came in I almost fainted from the overwhelming loamy smell…and I cooked it anyway, and after hours of stirring horrible loamy-smelling lamb stew, I was off lamb forever). Grandpa and I agreed that this lamb didn’t really taste like LAMB; it was falling off the bone, but not mushy (“mouthfeel” being very important!).
And Grandpa had ordered a tajine, which is meat and accoutrements cooked in a pyramid-shaped dish, in which it is also served. This one was chicken and lamb with almonds and raisins, and it was heavenly. I think next time I go to Le Tassili, I’m going to get that, or at least one of the other tagines sucrés (sweet tagines).
Apologies, by the way, for the blurry food pictures. The restaurant isn’t very well-lit, and despite having asked the host if I could take pictures (an enthusiastic oui!), and our being the only people in the restaurant, I felt uncomfortable using the flash.
The nice thing about having permission to take pictures is that it makes it less awkward for the host to offer to take a picture of you.
When the meal was over, I chatted in French for a bit with the host, whose name I probably ought to find out. He remembered me from the time I came to Le Tassili with Mom and David, and he asked me to “transmettre” his best wishes to them. He had spent a lot of time in the States, and happens to have a nephew in Chicago, so we talked about that, and how nice they are in the States…sauf New York, where they’re more European.
Anyway, I hope I’ve done justice to this little gem of a restaurant (which has no website of its own and only a few other reviews online that I could find). My hope is that somebody will stumble across this entry when they’re looking for somewhere to eat in the 14ème arrondissement and will go to Le Tassili. To my future reader, I say bon appetit and bienvenue!. Je suis très heureuse de vous accueillir.