Eat at Baboush. It Makes You Cooler.

Head just east of West Village and you'll discover a new spot that feels like you traveled a lot farther east.

Baboush transports you with its elegantly appointed Moroccan décor, unique drink menu and modern interpretations of classic Lebanese and Moroccan dishes. I'm pretty much always in the mood for a good cucumber salad and a dollop or 10 of hummus, so I was intrigued from the moment I heard it was coming to the neighborhood. As I researched a little further, I learned the owners also operate a favorite of mine: Farnatchi, as well as Medina Oven & Bar. Nestled among the pizza at Grimaldi's and the sushi at The Fish, Baboush rounds out a strong lineup of multicultural dining options in that little strip just off McKinney Avenue.

The vibe at Baboush was bustling, much like I imagine the streets of Marrakesh would be -- lined with food vendors like those which Baboush's menu is said to be based upon. The crowd was grown-up, stylish and simply happy as they clinked their wine glasses and dipped their pita triangles in everything from hummus to babaganoush to sweet tomato spread. It seemed everyone was excited to escape the balmy heat of Dallas for a little bit of Moroccan spice.

Late one Saturday night, we ordered the babaganoush to start, followed by an array of tapas-style dishes. The fatoush salad (which is almost as much fun to say as Baboush) came chopped small with romaine, feta, olives and a vinegary dressing that featured tamarind. We also ordered the chicken shwarma, which was diced and piled atop a pool of

creamy hummus. The mergueze, a grilled sausage made of lamb, was served with a side of the my beloved cucumber salad, each ingredient diced tiny. A side of basmati rice rounded out our meal. Golden raisins, which I tend to avoid on principle, were more than welcome in this subtly sweet dish.

I honestly could have ordered one of everything on Baboush's menu and happily rolled out a few hours later. But this way I can come back, sit on a cute little Moroccan pouf, order up a mint tea and have plenty to look forward to.

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