one of the final stops on my romp of H Street was another around the corner goody, SOUK. It had been a long time coming for good buddies of BOOF, Bill and AB and I to get together. I had been wanting to go to Souk for a while and I knew that Bill studied abroad in Morocco, so I threw out the idea of Souk and both agreed.
Souk is a smaller primarily tapas restaurant with a nice relaxed vibe. It is filled with warm colors and very decorative pillows on many of the seats throughout the restaurant. I had never realized that in addition to the small dining room in the front of the restaurant (along with the bar), there is in additional dining room in the back with very very dimmed lighting but more of the same color scheme. It also boasts an open kitchen and we all i know, i love an open kitchen. points for that.
to start off we ordered the hummus which was just a simple blend of chick peas puree, tahini, olive oil and lemon. i feel like it is difficult to go wrong with homemade hummus and Souk did a good job with it. No unexpected kicks or surprise flavors but it was good nonetheless.
i also ordered the Chiflour Bi Tahina which is fried cauliflour with herbs and tahina sauce. i can really never see anything wrong with a tempura vegetable and this was more of the same. The flavors were nicely balanced but there was no special kick to it. i think that it could have had some more complex flavors going on but it was still clean and simple.
Additionally, I ordered the Couscous a la Berebere which is couscous served with dry fruits, apricots, nuts and a yogurt sauce. this was recommended to me by Bill and my mouth may have been watering upon reading the description on the menu. unfortunately, it wasn't as good as the description leads it on to be. the couscous was cooked fine as were the ingredients but the flavor intensity that I was expecting from the dried fruits and apricots did not come through as much as I would have hoped. the yogurt sauce helped a bit but it was definitely one of those "great vision, not so great execution" dishes.
AB ordered the Chicken Shawarma which is roasted chicken with tomato onion salad served with Basmati rice. Both Bill and AB enjoyed this dish and Bill felt like she was back in Morocco, which is a clearly a good thing. The flavor and seasoning was there and definitely had mediterranean influences but it also had its own distinct identity.
Bill ordered the Lamb couscous which was a stewed lamb shank with a vegetable medley of squash, carrots, and zucchini served with couscous. This was a big hit and I even had some of the carrots which were really tasty. AB also took really well to this dish and enjoyed the flavor. There are occasions when restaurants mistake good seasoning from salting and this was not the case. The seasoning was nicely balanced.
Additionally, I ordered the Shrimp Biryani (i'm pretty sure that's what it was called), and it was really quite good. The flavor and seasoning was really present and had the nice "kick" that I had been looking for all evening. I would actually caution that unless you are accustomed to very spicy things and can take it, that you might not get it because I had to polish off that couscous to be able to finish it. However, I was really pleased with the dish and the flavor and I think that the bold seasoning that they used in this particular dish should be used more so throughout.
All in all, i enjoyed my time at Souk. There are definitely additional items on the menu that I would like to try and I think tapas is always a good choice among a small group of friends or for a date. If on a date, I would recommend asking to be seated in the back dining room because the front dining room can be a little bit of the fishbowl with the open windows. They had a lot of good flavors in some of the dishes, but I definitely would not be afraid to push the envelope if I were them.