Last month Souk Moroccan Bistro and Bazaar opened immediately over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Trinity Groves. Neighboring Kitchen LTO and LUCK, it's the creation of Dallas restaurateur Yaser Khalaf and Moroccan-born, Spanish-raised chef Najat Kaanache
The restaurant is designed to evoke a marketplace, with strategically placed baskets and hanging lamps and lighting meant to imitate slatted sunlight beaming through the roofs of vendor booths. The front is always open wide to the patio area, and despite the chill, the smells drifting from the open kitchen and tile-covered oven have attracted a lot of people. Until last week Souk was only open for dinner, but so many people poked in during dinner prep to ask if they were open that they produced a truncated menu and soft-opened for lunch last week.
The menu is a play on Moroccan street food, but it also reflects the history of Moroccan colonialism, with Spanish and Portuguese influences. The crawfish cronuts ($8) for example are inspired by Spanish croquetas, made with shellfish or cod. The lunch menu also features batbout, a flat bread pizza, with mushrooms and baby zucchini ($12), pomegranate cheesecake with berry compote ($7) and Kaanache's seasonal cronuts ($4.50). The dinner menu is more expansive, with lamb tagine ($15), takouta salad, described as Marrakech ratatouille ($9) and Moorish paella ($45) for six people, that must be ordered 24 hours in advance.
Many of the dishes are designed to be tinkered with and adapted as Kaanache comes up with new ideas and new ingredients. The chicken tagine ($15) pictured above, for example, was photographed on its first day on the menu. Kaanache says she's not interested in creating a "perfect" dish anyway. "You're never going to be perfect because everyone has a different palate," she says. But if you can make food that connects with them, or reminds them of another time or place, then that's a successful dish.