MEKKI Invites You to Experience Morocco in the Heart of the Village

MEKKI Invites You to Experience Morocco in the Heart of the Village

Mekki is a Moroccan restaurant with international and contemporary flair, owned by Moroccan-born fashion and cosmetics entrepreneur and restaurateur, Mekki Karrakchou. He traveled frequently to New York for business, and while he loved the city, he believed that something was missing-the Moroccan cooking he grew up with. "It's always been my dream to bring my Mom's cooking to the best city in the world," he said. The cuisine at Mekki-whether traditional or modern-is all authentic, inspired by the recipes of his mother, tasting trips to Morocco with staff, distinctive Moroccan spices and flavors, and Mekki's world travels.

The restaurant captures the sensory excitement of Morocco including enticing aromas, captivating colors, vibrant energy and warm hospitality. It's not just the tantalizing food that makes Mekki a sought-after Village hot-spot; it's the vibe that you remember: the warm welcome, the sumptuous comfort of the front lounge and dining room, and the feeling that by the time you leave you are part of the family. The ideal experience begins in the lively front lounge with cocktails or a glass of wine accompanied by an extensive selection of appetizers and small plates and continues in the intimate dining room.

The front lounge sets the tone with deep, comfortable upholstered wing-back arm chairs, round cocktail tables with hammered metal tops and a well-stocked bar. Moroccan slippers decorate the walls and ceramic tagines dot the shelves. The lighting emanates from punctured stainless-steel fixtures, that provide just the right atmosphere; sultry and seductive, but directs the light where you need it, to your menu and food. In the dining room, a deep rich Moroccan blue ceiling, a color specially created for the restaurant, captures the essence of Morocco. Here spherical lights shimmer like crystals, with the same punctured stainless steel and create a textured pattern on the blue ceilings and silver-gray walls. The perimeter of the dining room is wrapped in inviting dark blue banquets. Inset shelves pop with the same blue that reminds one of the Mediterranean, the sky, the sea, the painted blue doors of Morocco. The overall effect is elegant, yet comfortable; celebratory, yet casual.

MEKKI Invites You to Experience Morocco in the Heart of the Village

The carefully curated menu is divided in Traditional Salads, Small Plates, Briouate, Tagines and Sweets, all designed to be shared. The salads are served cold with crusty housemade Moroccan bread. They feature Zaalouk, braised eggplant and roasted garlic in tomato concasse, Tchektchouka, a thick spread of fire-roasted red peppers, tomato and spicy piquillo pepper and Khiar Maticha, Persian cucumbers, tomato and pomegranate vinaigrette. The small plates include Burrata with olive, argan oil and marcona almonds, Loubia, local merguez (lamb sausage) with harissa and cannellini beans and Shrimp sauteed with shaved garlic, green chermoula (Moroccan herb sauce) and grilled bread. Be prepared for the addictiveness of Briouate, wrapped in flaky dough (Moroccan warqa) filled with shrimp, cheese or kale and deep fried until crisp. The Tagines are delicately spiced braises, including Lamb a la Mounia, braised lamb shank, Halawi dates, cippollini and baby Yukon gold potatoes, and Fish Agadir, red snapper, tomato chermoula, roasted carrots, smoked paprika and potatoes. For dessert, there's Layla Pastylla, named for Mekki's mother, flaky puffed filo, showered with Crème Anglaise, and sprinkled with roasted pistachios and Moroccan cookies.

The newest addition to the menu is brunch including Shashuka, sous-vide eggs served over fire-roasted peppers, sweet braised cherry tomatoes, and ground beef, and Moroccan twists on Eggs Benedict such as poached eggs served over eggplant salad and griddled bread, with roasted potatoes, and merguez with eggs.

The beverage program includes a full bar including featured cocktails such as the Flying Carpet, composed of Arak, Grand Marnier, Crème de Violet and lemon, the Mirage, made with Hendrick's Gin, lemon, and rose, and the Moroccan Margarita, with Casamigos Tequila, Cointreau, lime, mint, orange and chocolate bitters. There's also a fine wine list that includes wines from France, Spain, California, Oregon, and Morocco, with a focus on marvelous wines from Mekki's family vineyard, La Farme Rouge, outside of Rabat. Originally French owned and closed for more than 50 years, the winery has been revitalized. They started with 100,000 bottles sold and now produce more than 2 million, with an even higher demand. For the restaurant, they are developing a private label that includes red, white, rosé, and pink (lighter and less sweet than rosé) wines. The beer list includes Bushwick Pilsner, Delirium Tremens, Founders All Day Session IPA, Speakeasy Prohibition Amber Ale and UFO White Ale.

Managing Partner Catlin Castan is in charge of special events and will customize your events to meet your every desire and your budget with menus specially designed for holidays. Catlin can be reached at events@mekkinyc.com. Happy Hour is from 4:30-7:00pm in the lounge with cocktails, house wines, and Moroccan salads at half price.

Mekki is located at 15 West 8th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, New York, NY 10011. Call 212-432-1508 and visit: www.mekkinyc.com. The restaurant is open Sun. - Thurs. 5pm-11pm and Fri. - Sat. 5pm-12am.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Mekki

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