Casablanca (East Brunswick, NJ)

This Moroccan restaurant just opened a couple of months ago in a strip mall which already had a Chinese restaurant and an Italian restaurant–in other words, just typical New Jersey strip mall. Inside it has Moroccan-themed decorations, but is not super-exotic. On the weekends they have a belly-dancing show, which strikes me as a little strange for the location, but whatever floats your boat. (Some reviews said that the space was really too small for a belly dancer and they kept getting hit by her clothing and accessories.

Mark had the Lamb Tajine; I had the Chicken Tajine. The names (and preparation methods) are similar, but the ingredients differ: the lamb shank was cooked with prunes, and the chicken breast with preserved lemon and olives. Given that they brought an appetizer plate of nuts, dried apricots, cheese, and olives, I definitely had my quota of olives, and then some. The dishes were $15 each at lunchtime, which was very reasonable. Both dishes were delicious. I want to try the Chicken Marrakesh next time–chicken cooked with chick peas and spices including cumin and cinnamon. Mark really liked the lamb and said it had that real lamb flavor he has been looking for.

Caveat: the only meal they serve on weekend evenings is prix fixe ($32), and your only choice seems to be vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Probably okay if you want an easy time of it, but not great for people who are choosier.

My understanding is that it’s the same owners as Sandy’s luncheonette two doors down (is that the ‘Italian’ place to which you refer?) This spot used to be a hair salon and I’m not surprised at the reports of the space being tight.

Didn’t that used to be Rick’s American Café?

Must be–it seems to be called Sandy’s Pizza now.

I left here pretty thoroughly underwhelmed. I came on a Sunday night with the family. The whole menu was available, no prix fixe.

The restaurant, as @ebchower mentioned, is in fact the same owners as Sandy’s. For a strip mall restaurant, the place is certainly opulently decorated. Though, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to ever feel comfortable at their large glass round tables.

Overall my impression of the place is that everything seemed rather under-seasoned and under-spiced for Moroccan food. I don’t strongly dislike the place, the service was nice and I’m glad a menu like it exists, but I don’t wish to return.

To start, they give a plate of nuts, dried apricots, cheese, olives. The olives are the best part of that, a nice little freebie.

Between the 4 of us, first, we split the Moraccan hummus, served with warm pita. I’ve had better, but overall wasn’t bad.

Next, I had the harira, a lentil based soup, which also was pretty good but just missing something, missing an oomph of flavor, it felt a bit too watery, but had a familiar sour-ness to shorbas in Indian cuisine.

Next we split the chicken bastilla and the Saraha Tajine. The chicken bastilla is a surprising, unique dish in Moroccan cuisine, a phyllo dough pie, complete with powdered sugar and cinnamon on top, with slow-cooked shredded chicken inside. This dish, too, was just lacking. The phyllo dough was good, but the chicken was just lacking flavor.

The Saraha Tajine is a roast chicken and preserved lemon stew with olives. This was likely our least favorite dish. The chicken itself was pretty bland, and overall again felt under-seasoned.

My problem is that none of the things were necessarily bad, but they all tasted like things I could make in my kitchen with any given simple recipe of the dishes.


Went here last night with a group of friends and family. Dinner was
Prix fixed 32$. It is BYOB. Their is a liquor store next door if you forget to bring or you need to restock. Seatings are 5:30 or 8:00pm
And it is fixed because of the belly dancing show.
Place is small and rectangular with tables lined up to walls with a center aisle for the dancer to perform. We were 7 and seated on 3
2-top tables that could have fitted 8 so we were very comfortable.
Excessive amounts of hummus and pita followed by a mixed salad which is pictured. This was followed by the show and then the entree. Most of our table had the lamb terrine which was served with apricots and raisins(pictured). This was served with a large portion of couscous. My daughter had a salmon and fennel dish.
She said salmon was dry. Baklava was served with tea for dessert
Summary- if your looking for something different , interested in dinner and a show that is reasonable, if you like a few bottles of wine (because you know BYOB) give it a try.
Food was abundant if under seasoned. Belly dancer was professional and creative. Nice setting to socialize and catch up with old friends.

Biggest complaint timing of the service. 8 pm sitting pita and hummus came out really late , entrees served 1person at a time
And slowly. Couscous appeared when most people almost done with entrees. Service was polite but it seemed way understaffed.

If you were to go maybe try the 5:30 sitting and for the reasonable show/prix fixed . Am not sure if food alone could pass the muster of some of the discerning palates in this forum, but note I have not tried ala crate menu.