Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Every once in awhile I eat at a restaurant in Vegas that makes me feel guilty for not having been active with my blog. The guilt stems a bit from my dad's nagging (he did send me to culinary school), but mainly it is because I feel I am doing a disservice to a restauranteur who is doing an excellent job in a tough business by not sharing their efforts with the community. Tonight we dined at Argana, a new Moraccan restaurant on Sahara and Durango, which my husband expects will close within a year. This is due only to its hidden location, however, and style of cuisine. I can't remember ever hearing anyone say "Let's go out for Moroccan" prior to this evening, and I eat with adventurous people, so his point is valid. I hope, however, this isn't the case. 

If you’ve ever eaten at Marrakech (which I believe is the only other Moroccan restaurant in town and a landmark on Paradise), then you will have an idea about what Moroccan food is - sort of Greek with a spiced up flare, heavy on mint and preserved lemon. Though Marrakech has the added benefits of belly dancing every night and eating on the floor with only your hands, Argana’s food feels more authentic and special. It is certainly less tourist trap-y and less expensive as well. We got out for less than $70 (including tip) for a filling meal with dessert and little extras.

We started with the Calamari Steak appetizer, served with preserved lemon, spicy tomatoes, and chick pea relish. I’m kind of over calamari because preparations tend to bore me and quality is all over the place, but this was recommended by the waiter and I tend to be a sucker for servers. Surprisingly, this dish proved to be a revelation in calamari. True to the description it was as thick as a small steak, and was uber tender with the texture of a firm and meaty scallop. The lemony relish was balanced and addictive, with a definite kick to waken the taste buds. It was the best dish of the night, but not by far.

We continued with the Fresh Fava Bean Salad with garlic, chermoula sauce, and spicy radishes. Chermoula is a mixture made with herbs, oil, lemon juice, pickled lemons, garlic, cumin, and salt - a lovely combination. This dish was equally delightful, and our only regret was not asking for pita bread with which to sop up the remainder of the sauce. 

Our entree was the Chicken Tagine, which unfortunately did not come in the customary ceramic dish with a conical lid, but did come with the aforementioned pita bread for the delicious sauce. The chicken was tender and juicy, having the consistency of perfectly cooked breast meat but with the richer flavor of the dark parts of the bird. I was accompanied by velvety potatoes, olives, and thick slices of their house made preserved lemon. 

Dessert was a Mint Tea Almond Panna Cotta that jiggled appropriately and came with a delicious lemon sauce on top (I'm pretty sure there's lemon in every dish here). The mint on top was a bit overpowering, but that was truly the only criticism of the meal. Another highlight of the meal included the hot Moroccan tea, a slightly sweet and minty concoction served in a pretty cup that stayed full throughout the meal. 

I would be remiss if I left out some information regarding the atmosphere. One thing that we always look for in a new restaurant is if it would be a place we can take my parents. I wouldn’t go so far as to call my mom a prima donna, however, decor, service and a full bar are things she sure appreciates. Considering Argana had all three down pat, I’m excited to bring her here. 

Do yourself and the restauranteur a tremendous favor by checking out Argana. I would love for my husband to be wrong about his one year prediction - I don't think that will give me enough time to check out the entire menu (twice).


8615 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV

Note: Sadly the picture of the calamari seems to have disappeared from my phone :-(

Fava Bean Salad

Chicken Tagine

Mint Tea Almond Panna Cotta

No comments:

Post a Comment