Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tunisian Kosher Found at Harissa Restaurant













I had an eventful night in good south of Beverly Hill.

Usually, avoiding the glitzy, shopping area of this part of the town was a must. Imagine if you will, there is a more upscale, posh part of the town that attracts big spenders to those high end boutique shops you have seen in the movie "Pretty Woman" and "Beverly Hill Cops". Going two blocks south, you'll get more of the intimate restaurants without the cost gouging.

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Seafood Board

Harissa is an hybrid Tunisian and French restaurant that is in the heart of the less intimidating area of Pico Blvd, that is more for the humble crowd. The restaurant started by Alain Cohen was an addition to the space next to his Kosher deli aptly named "Got Kosher".

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Charcuterie Board

A select group of influential "influencers" and I got invited to attend a diner hosted Mr. Cohen in his Tunisian influenced Kosher restaurant. It was delight to see Alain go in depth about his upbringings and family background that inspired into opening up a deli. In no time, it also led him to open up his very own restaurant after Alain tried every hands in every possible positions in restaurant world to understand the inner workings to operate an establishment.

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Alain's Tuna Sandwich

I researched it where Mr. Cohen decided to go all in by transferring to a restaurant from a casual Kosher cafe where he offers the upmost Jewish cuisine of Shabbat provisions with anything from challahs to vegan dishes that holds to the Jewish traditions. By transferring to a full fledged restaurant, it opened up more room to accommodate diners with tables and a patio seating just outside of the space.

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This happening dinner hosted by our esteemed host Alain, where he regaled us with his upbringing in France where the influences of some of the dishes can be shown through, with the Tunisian fare that dazzled in display. First came the epic Seafood board that consists of gravlax with bouhka and salmon terrine. That itself would be highlight if we didn't get more to come. Learned from Alain on that some of the importing of these exquisite item like gravlax can be hefty. So worth savoring for.

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Lemon Raisin Chicken Couscous

Next up are the charcuterie board. This highlighted some of beef prosciutto, lamb pancetta, and chicken pate with cognac. The two most defined North African dish of Tunisa I was about to experience came right after the boards. The Alain's Tuna Sandwich and the Lemon Raisin Chicken Couscous.

First off on the couscous, this would be my 2nd time ever in experienced this unique small steamed balls of semolina. I know, I am ashamed in admitting that fact. Fortunately, Harissa can right this wrong by showing us their version of this timeless North African dish with cauliflower version of couscous. My other experience was from an Algerian restaurant who showcased this dish.

The tuna sandwich named after our host/owner was bundled with hard boiled egg in a bun flavored with mechouia and hot chili paste of Harissa (now you know restaurant was name after the popular chili paste of Tunisa).

This unforgettable meal sets off all sorts of possibilities of what Tunisian fare can be and we also were informed of what it takes for the meal needing to be Kosher. Yes, this restaurant obviously observes the requirement of Jewish dietary regulations.

If you ever hit up Beverly Hills, forget the glitz on the northend, and hit up south for a memorable humble meal of this spectacular cuisine. More importantly, it's Kosher!

Harissa Restaurant
8914 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
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