I really, really want to like The Fez, the new Moroccan restaurant on Summer Street. I was thrilled to see something new and different here in the FC, but The Fez just comes up short in too many categories.
First impressions are huge. When you enter, you're greeted by contemporary American rock music instead of anything even remotely Moroccan or Mediterranean. The space itself is nice, but nothing special - no lush couches, red-shaded lamps or other Middle Eastern clichés. It doesn't scream "Moroccan" at all.
As for the food, I had the swordfish tagine with saffron couscous, green olives and fennel salad, and JT from BlogStamford had the roast quail special. (Yes, we local bloggers roll in groups.) Both meals were pretty tasty, though my swordfish was a touch overcooked.
My biggest gripe with The Fez is the prices -- everything is just too expensive. $6 for hummus and avjar (an eggplant pepper spread)? $4 for a side of couscous?? The swordfish tagine was $25, and I was still hungry afterwards! Oh yeah, did I mention that the portions were too small? I don't mean they were small compared to ridiculous Olive Garden-sized American portions; they were smaller than even a sensibly-sized meal.
Plus, it just seems like they're trying too hard, like a restaurant vying to be the new hot spot down in TriBeCa. In doing so, the food disappoints. They try to make it too elaborate. Lobster-stuffed falafel? Give me a nice eggplant tagine or some spicy lamb.
My second-biggest gripe is how the waiter kept pushing the "Snacks" (appetizers) and, later, the desserts. We considered Snacks once and said no thanks, but he asked us twice more if we wanted something, and even rattled off a few recommendations. Dude, we said NO THANKS. (PS: "Fingerling potatoes confit with harrisa mayonnaise" is really "Fries with mayo.")
One positive about The Fez is the presentation. Both of our meals were very nicely arranged and served.
Since I'm a nice guy, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they're still ironing out the kinks, and I'll probably try The Fez again at some point.
Great for people-watching.
Not enough food for the money.
Nothing really Moroccan about the place.
Enough with pushing the snacks!