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Posted at 04:09 PM ET, 08/22/2011

Marrakech Lounge brings tagines to Columbia Road

Bisteeya is coming to Adams Morgan.

The traditional Moroccan dish bisteeya — a savory pie made with shredded chicken and almonds and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon — will be among the featured attractions at Marrakech Lounge at 1817 Columbia Rd. NW. Pending inspections, the two-story, 75-seat restaurant is scheduled to open Sept. 1, says its owner, Ahmed Ouihman.

Marrakech Lounge is the 34-year-old Moroccan native’s first solo venture but not his first dining establishment. Until last week, he was a manager at the nearby Napoleon restaurant; earlier, he worked as a server at Café Milano in Georgetown.

“I know the area very well,” Ouihman says of Adams Morgan. His decision to go out on his own was simple. “You get tired of working for other people. I want to be my own boss.”

 The freshly minted restaurant owner has hired Matt Mohler, also 34, to whip up a menu of small plates that will include tagines, flatbreads, couscous and baklava. Any experience with the cuisine he’s about to serve? “Turkish, Italian, Greek, but never Moroccan,” says the 2003 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, who comes to the project from a sous chef position at the luxe Adour at the St. Regis. Mohler says of his new employer, “He wants that French-Mediterranean flair.” So there will be vanilla-poached tuna seasoned with cumin and coriander, among other dishes.

Marrakech Lounge will serve dinner and brunch. Small plates are expected to cost $10 to $15.

By  |  04:09 PM ET, 08/22/2011

Categories:  Restaurants

 
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