Zitoune in Mamaroneck: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012

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I’m JL Fields, guest blogger, and this is my first post for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012.  Tonight my husband and I began our vegan / omnivore dining adventure at Zitoune in Mamaroneck.  Close to home …

…but transported to another world through a colorful decor and and exotic music.

As a “mixed” couple (I only eat plants; my husband, not so much) we opt for restaurants that can accommodate both the vegan and the omnivore.  Zitoune meets our needs perfectly.

We were treated to a basket of Moroccan bread and olive tapenade.

That’s right, pita is not the official bread of Morocco!

I started with the Lentil Soup.

Pureed and garnished with cumin, paprika and olive oil, this soup could easily serve as a hearty meal.

My husband opted for the sardines.

This dish was sizzling at the table and he described it as delicately seasoned which allowed for the full flavor of the fish.

We both were drawn to the Berber Couscous for dinner. Mine was vegetarian and his was served with lamb.

The dish is presented with the vegetable couscous, vegetable broth and Harissa, a hot, chile pepper sauce (just a dab will do).  You pour the broth over the couscous to moisten it.

We both found this dish special because the couscous was light and “buttery” and the vegetables were clearly steamed, not boiled, so they were firm but melted in the mouth. I had to know how the couscous was made.  The entire dish was prepared in a couscousiere, which is essentially a double boiler.  The vegetables and spices (including ginger, saffron and cilantro) are cooked on the bottom and the couscous is on top, steamed through the process. The result is outstanding. By the way, the serving size is so generous that I took half home.

Zitoune is offering three lovely desserts this week:  Baked Fruit and Nut B’Steeya (filo pockets stuffed with nuts and fruit), a Moroccan Crepe (filled with fruit and honey), and Raibi (yogurt with nuts and fruit). After speaking with the chef it was clear that I could have none, “What not even honey? You really are a vegan.  Let me think.” He returned shortly with B’Steeya for my husband.

He devoured it!

And for the vegan? This gorgeous plate of goodies.

Orange slices with cinnamon, sugar and orange blossom with dried fruit and fresh nuts, garnished with caramelized lemon zest.  The chef said, “If you like it, I’ll add it to the menu for vegans.” I didn’t like it. I loved it.

Our first night out during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012 was perfectly delicious for both the vegan and the omnivore.

 The 411 on Zitoune.

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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at food@lohud.com

5 Comments

  1. It’s so great to read a restaurant review from a vegan’s point of view- I hope to see more here in the future! You’ve sold me on Zitoune- thanks!

  2. Elly Egenberg on

    I am also a vegan. lentil soup made in a restaurant that serves meat is usually made in a meat or chicken broth, hence not vegan.

  3. Hi Elly! I always ask (I’m a rigid vegan…grin). I find that many ethnic restaurants do not rely on meat stock as they focus on vegetables and flavorful spices to season the broth. Most lentil soups in more “mainstream” American restaurants do, indeed, use chicken stock. Always good to ask!

  4. Lovely review and learned something too! Thank you.
    Chef Alain always aims to please. He is doing a belly dance and cooking demo for WCC on May 14. www,sunywcc.edu Join us.

  5. Elly Egenberg on

    JL Fields, you are right!! Zitoune is a vegan’s paradise. They do not use butter or animal products in their vegetarian dishes!

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