When most of us hear the word, ‘Casablanca’, we think of Bogart and Bergman or possibly one of the largest cities in Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. The name is derived from the Portuguese/Spanish, meaning ‘White House’ and the locals now simply refer to it as ‘Casa’.
The land has passed through control and influence from the Phoenicians, Romans, French and everyone involved in WWII — many have left a lasting signature on the local culture and cuisine. Now is your chance to experience a little bit of Morocco in the East Village.
This is not your white linen tablecloth and la di da establishment — it’s a hookah lounge with inspired cocktails, international vibe and plenty of tasty plates to share.
After great success on the outskirts, young entrepreneur Amar Patel brings an exotic mix of flavors and ‘smoke’ to the city’s vibrant and artistic epicenter — Casablanca is a located in the heart of the East Village.
The surreptitious lounge is in the ratskeller while the eatery glows beneath Moorish-style lanterns and movie memorabilia on street level. It’s what you would expect in a foreign land or funky, downtown locale — retro, casual and interesting.
Mixologists (What an ugly word for creative and necessary people), Sonny Nelson and Artemio Vasquez, conjure up libations that are intoxicatingly inventive and refreshing. I recommend the Cleopatra Cucumber Gimlet; it is aromatic with a kick that quenches thirst. It’s concocted with cucumber infused gin, fresh lime, white wine syrup and orange bitters.
Executive Chef Wesley Wobles is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. He has created a menu that is French inspired but also includes a continental selection of America’s favorites. The lobster mac-n-cheese is very tasty. I also recommend the hummus with pine nuts, artichoke and fennel seed flatbread. The lamb moussaka needs a little more tweaking, which is odd considering it should be a signature dish.
After dinner Hookah: They offer various tableside urns with flavors like Banana Split, Grape Ape, Pineapple Express, Sour Patch Kids, and Pulp Fiction. The rest of your night will find another world in the lounge downstairs.
189 East 3rd Street
New York NY
Their website is still under construction but you heard about it here first.