After several years working in posh European restaurants in Fukuoka, Moroccan native Fouad has opened Fukuoka’s first and only Moroccan restaurant. Not in trendy Tenjin but in the sleepy town of Susenji, Bistro Bar Crescent is just a 20-minute ride west on the subway and JR line from Tenjin. Chef Fouad offers a mostly French/Continental menu, but don’t let the laid-back, non-ethnic interior fool you the Moroccan dishes are the real standouts. Tajines, prepared in heavy clay pots, are slow-cooked at low temperatures, resulting in ultra-tender meat and vegetables swimming in aromatic sauce (choice of lamb, beef, chicken or beef meatballs). Beef, chicken or veal couscous, in which a fragrant stew is poured over a bed of grains, is another must-try item, as are the lamb or beef shish kebabs seasoned with cumin and served with vegetables and butter-basil rice. Nothing compliments these rich flavors more perfectly than a traditional Moroccan beverage, so sample a glass of wine or pot of mint tea, which includes an elaborate pouring demonstration at your table. Or try a shot of Mahia, a Moroccan fig liqueur digestive, to wrap up your meal with a smile and a blush. The set course, including chicken tajine, salad, soup, dessert and Moroccan tea, is worth every yen at 2,500 yen per person (just 2,000 yen at lunch time!). Be warned that all of the Moroccan dishes except chicken tajine and couscous require reservations at least a full day in advance, but don’t be afraid to give Fouad a call he’ll be happy to suggest the perfect meal for you, whether you’re an experienced gourmet or a newbie.
Bistro Bar Crescent
2F, 2-1-25 Susenji, Nishi-ku
11:30 ~ 15:00 Lunch, 17:00 ~ 23:00 Dinner
Prices: Couscous 1500 yen, Moroccan Set Dinner 2500 yen, Shish Kebab 800 yen, Morroccan wine 600 yen/glass, Draft beer 500 yen, Creme Brulee 400 yen
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn101, May 2007)