The HHB Weekend: Dinner at Marrakech

Thanks again (and again) to Jeannine Harsh for discovering Marrakech for the MIX08 team this past year. This is a follow-on post to “My Hedonistic-Healthy Birthday (HHB) Weekend” .. the restaurant and the experience deserve the extra attention.

Note that I love off-Strip stuff in Vegas; I drive like a local and am always ready for a new adventure, so please send me your suggestions.

Marrakech is only slightly off the beaten track .. less than a mile from the Westin Casuarina, and about a mile from The Strip. It is well worth the walk over.

The Marrakech Web Site says:

Dine on delicious Moroccan food served in the unique Moroccan manner enhanced by beautiful belly dancers. Stay as long as you wish, there is no rush here.

Service begins with washing each persons hands with lightly scented rose water. It successfully sets the stage for the highly anticipated, extravagant six-course meal offered by Marrakech.

And it does. But their brevity (a necessity in the modern Web) modestly understates the experience. Some pre-course details:

  • Once seated, you are presented a towel that will be your friend (and a necessity) throughout the dinner. You then engage in a warm rosewater hand wash and place your drink order (full bar, although no Maker’s Mark .. I had Jack in my introductory Manhattan). The servers will answer any questions about the menu and are especially careful to ask about any food allergies, which I found quite comforting.
  • On the menu: there really isn’t one .. yes they hand you a menu, but it’s essentially FYI. The restaurant serves a six-course Moroccan meal for a bargain prix fixe price of US$40.
  • The belly dancers are complimentary (and to be complimented).
  • The staff offered to explain each course to me as they served it, including describing how best to eat it. If that surprises you, please note that you are in a “no silverware zone” (save for the main course and fabulous dessert).
  • The server will describe the spices and as much detail as you’re willing to absorb about the preparation and history of the course.
  • The meal is served with a freshly-baked loaf of a neutral sesame bread. I was delighted about this, as was able to keep my hands relatively clean.

The courses (cobbled together with their site descriptions and my personal experience:

Marrakech_01_Scampi_20081101 A delightful appetizer of tender shrimp: scampi seasoned in lemon, wine, parsley and garlic. Outstanding. I sopped up the garlic sauce with their amazing bread. I wasn’t going to be speaking with anyone after dinner.

The scampi is followed with Harira Soup: a lentil-and-rice soup with lemon and other spices.

Marrakech_02_Salade_20081101 Then comes Salade Marrakech: hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and peppers. Incredible.
Marrakech_03_Filet_20081101 Candle-lit Filet Mignon Shish-Kebob. Tender and delicious.

If you know how I eat .. I’m finished by now (in fact, I was finished after the salad). However, they kept showing up with food:

Marrakech_04_Cornish_20081101 The main course is a Royal Cous Cous platter served with Cornish Game Hen in a traditional raisin-vegetable sauce. This was a real treat (and I was happy to have a fork at this point).
Marrakech_05_BStilla_20081101 For dessert, B’Stilla, a Moroccan favorite served with a delightful mint tea. The highlight of the meal (for me, anyway). I came here tonight because I wanted another look / taste of this dessert .. it alone is worth the trip. it’s a fillo dough pastry stuffed with walnuts, fruit, cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Marrakech makes an impression. Don’t miss a visit the next time you’re in Vegas!

Original Post: November 1, 2008

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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