1 review

Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro

3940 4th Ave Ste 110

San Diego, CA




Phone: (619) 295-5560


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Austin D.

San Diego, CA

Nov 23, 2009

This jewel is tucked away in the basement level of a gaudy 80's style building in Hillcrest. This is one case where the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" has never rung truer.

Why does this establishment earn the coveted 5-stars? Simply put, it gets everything right. The owner, Moumen (like "Newman") is friendly, ambitious, creative, passionate, and knows how to cook great Moroccan food.

The decor was authentic and intimate without being obnoxious.

We began with a few appetizers, and my friend ordered the "Menu II" tasting, a five course meal.

The soup was tasty (I find vegetarian soups usually lacking in flavor; not the case here).

Then on to an eggplant dish, some skewers, and the b'stila. Oh the b'stila. It's a savory pastry made with chicken, phyllo dough, spices and sugar and cinnamon. When I recounted my experience at Marrakesh (I took the pic of the bastilla with the camel on it in the Yelp review), Moumen proceeded to explain the intricacies of making b'stila. The time he spent chatting with us and the other customers was another demonstration of his dedication to his craft and to his restaurant.

For the entree, I ate the fish special, a halibut and shrimp dish served in a savory sauce which was perfectly spiced and seasoned. Listening to Moumen explain the subtleties of using the right amount of exotic spices just added to the experience, even though by then I had already licked my plate clean. My friend had the lamb shank which melted off the bone.

What I appreciate about Kous Kous is how they are taking a different, more modern approach than traditional Moroccan restaurants. No cheesy overwrought music. No belly dancers (not that there's anything wrong with that). Just really good food in a fine dining atmosphere. The tapas menu is also something Kous Kous is innovating (as it's not traditionally done with Moroccan cuisine). On subsequent visits I will be sure to order from that menu.

While I agree with other reviewers that it is a bit on the pricey side, Moumen pointed out (and was obvious after eating the meal) that this type of cuisine is very labor intensive. And it was worth every penny.

Oh, and free (validated) parking.