Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

GoodTaste: Elfassi worth the fuss

"Fassi" couscous with lamb shank, chickpeas and raisins from the Argana Tree restaurant in Jenkintown. (Craig LaBan/ staff)
"Fassi" couscous with lamb shank, chickpeas and raisins from the Argana Tree restaurant in Jenkintown. (Craig LaBan/ staff)

Most couscous in the few Moroccan restaurants scattered across the Philadelphia region represents the popular Berber style, a hearty stew featuring root veggies and the meat of your choice.

But at Argana Tree, the upscale Moroccan restaurant in downtown Jenkintown, I'd suggest trying the Elfassi rendition.

Full of chickpeas, caramelized onions and golden raisins, this style is typical of Fez, just over an hour from the town of Tiflet, where Argana's owners Abdul and Sophia Abirou hail from.

Sophia cooks all the traditional Moroccan flavors at Argana (the pastry-wrapped chicken pastille pie was also great) and this Elfassi couscous was particularly well made, from the soulful, fork-tender lamb shank to a sweet-and-spicy gravy vivid with turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger, plus a scattering of crispy marcona almonds for textural pop. - Craig LaBan

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  • "Elfassi" couscous, $18 (plus $7 for lamb), Argana Tree Restaurant, 620 Greenwood Ave., Jenkintown, 215-887-7400; arganatreerestaurant.com

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