Monday, July 12, 2010

Eats of Stamford: The Fez

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 clich├ęs. 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.

Something different.
Nice presentation.
Great for people-watching.

Not enough food for the money.
Nothing really Moroccan about the place.
Enough with pushing the snacks!


Always Home and Uncool said...

Is your company planning on taking over the Food Network or something?

BTW, like the new header.

Whitemist said...

There is some unusual background history of the new manager/consultant that i will not go into, but i will not go there.

Anonymous said...

Hello Whitemist,

Is your comment in regards to the Fez? Can you share a bit of info?

When I was recently at The Fez I met the manager, chef and some of the staff and found them pleasurable, and interesting.

Specifically, in regards to the manager, I found him extremely professional and knowledgeable with years of experience. In fact, I was surprised to discover that he was the restaurant consultant that redesigned the food and beverage menus at a French Bistro in Providence that I frequently visited. His efforts made a big impact; the Bistro was my first choice when I was in Providence.

My experience at The Fez was positive, the Manager was delightful and I'll go back when I'm in the area as well as, strongly recommend The Fez too!


Not too obvious who Anonymous is! Anyways I'll have to give the Fez a try and see for myself.

StamfordNotes said...

Nice review, SOS. Seems like I can cross that one off my list.

Streets of Stamford said...

The Advocate has yet to review it, but I'm interested in their take on The Fez. They wrote them up in the business section last week, but didn't really talk about the food.

Anonymous said...

The Fez (Owner)-Thank you for your reviews. When we first opened up we were ironing out a few things on our end but im glad to say we are now fully up and running. Ill be the first to admit, our first mistake was hiring inexperienced waitstaff. Our music changes, we like to have a little bit of everything playing. We also have different events everyday-such as BYOV- Bring Your Own Vinyl on Tuesday
Belly dancers on Friday evening, Twilight Jazz on Sunday evening. SOS we would love to have you come over again, you wont be disappointed. Here are some reviews from others.

And please feel free to email if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Fez on Sunday and was extremely satisfied with my experience. The chicken special included about 1/2 of a whole chicken - leg, wing and breast. Our party of 6 was able to share our entrees family style. The wait staff was incredibly friendly and was able to recommended dishes wihtout being pushy. They were also very accomodating with a special birthday request. The band was a nice plus which I wasn't expecting, and gave a very professional performance. This was easily one of my better dining experiences in Stamford.

Natasha said...

Check out this NYTimes review!

I will definitely try this restaurant this holiday season, I mean who doesn't want to see Belly Dancing and drink exotic wines!

Streets of Stamford said...

After seeing these comments about the improved situation at The Fez, I'll definitely have to check it out again soon!

Now, do I go anonymously again, or let them know when I'm coming? :)