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Monday, October 17, 2005

Tajine: Restaurant Review CLOSED

Last week we were too tired to break our Yom Kippur fast the traditional way, with friends and family. Instead we stayed in the City and broke our fast with another group of people who were also breaking their fast--Muslims.

There was in fact a fast breaking Ramadan special on the menu at Tajine, a relatively new halal Moroccan restaurant in the gustatory Mecca that is the Tenderloin. That night the restaurant was filled with Algerians, Moroccans and even some women from Malaysia wearing the chador.The Ramadan special included dates, because eating dates is how prophet Mohammed broke his fast. It also had a hard boiled egg and a little pile of cumin and salt to dip it in. I know about the special because I chatted with some of the customers, not because we ordered it.

No, when we eat out we feel compelled to order as many things as humanly possible. So we broke our fast with a generous bowl of harira ($2.50), a lentil soup that was deliciously spiced and filled with chunks of onion, and even some chickpeas. We then tried the Bastilla ($5.50) which could have easily been shared by four people. It was very good, moist and had crunchy almonds throughout. Then we had the Charmoula a pepper and tomato salad and finally a platter of kebabs.

The best item was the Brochette Royal ($10.50) which was also the most expensive thing on the menu. This huge platter came with soup, fresh sesame bread and two salads and three kebabs. The eggplant salad was rich with tomatoes and thick like caponata. The kebabs were unbelievably good. The meat was sizzlingly crisp and at the same time bursting with juice. The Brochette Royal included chicken, lamb and kufta kebab, which I would consider ordering as a sandwich next time. It was perfectly seasoned and very tender.

Though we spent less than $30 we had a meal's worth of leftovers. With only six tables this is a very popular place but the service and the patrons couldn't have been more friendly or welcoming. We ended our meal with mint tea and some honey pastries and felt happy, satiated, at peace with ourselves, our neighbors and the world around us. As we left, our bellies full, the chef called us back and sprinkled rosewater on our hands, making us feel as if we truly were among family and friends.

CLOSED 552 Jones @ Geary
San Francisco

1338 Polk St
San Francisco

Saturday through Thursday, noon to 10:00pm
Friday, 3:00pm to 10:00pm