The other people at my table didn’t know what I was looking for. Stretching my neck out, looking over one of my co-workers, I stared at the door into the kitchen, hoping for a glimpse of him.
Yes, I had seen him on Iron Chef America earlier in the week, but that was in my living room – this was slightly different. Finally, the door swung open, and out walked an African man wearing an immaculate white shirt and sporting a neatly trimmed patch of facial hair. My accompaniment still couldn’t understand my fascination, but then again, they hadn’t had a bite of food yet.
I usually don’t do lunch out with my co-workers, but through a complicated series of events, myself and three others were owed a lunch, and so I insisted on trying Morou’s Farrah Olivia.
Morou, the former executive chef at the infamous Signatures, has found a new place to call home in Old Town Alexandria. Blending French, American, and African cuisines, Morou has recaptured so much of the creativity and flair that made him a near household name here in the district.
The meal started off strong with a basket containing a mix of slices of sourdough and raisin bread. They were served with a set of four or five dipping sauces that included a pesto that tasted so fresh that it almost had a slight grassy taste to it, and a butternut squash spread that could have been the base for a meal.
After the bread was cleared, I promptly received my first course, a set of goat cheese pot stickers sitting in a beautiful pool of lemongrass broth with a few strands of fennel. The pot stickers were nicely cooked, allowing the goat cheese to be the primary focus of the dish. I could have used more than two pot stickers, as they were a bit small, but I think that just proves how much I enjoyed them.
The main course was a pair of nice sized scallops atop a bed of slightly spicy Mexican chorizo; an interesting mix of sausage, peppers and tomatoes. The scallops were very well cooked – not the best I’ve ever had, but still quite good and the chorizo complimented them near perfectly. The only negative of the main course was the accompanying roasted potatoes, which were pretty flavorless and a little overcooked.
Looking past this, I looked forward to desert; a dish simply called “
As I finished up my last few berries, I couldn’t help but notice Morou setting up dishes for a photographer who had been taking pictures of food and people eating food for the past hour.
I haven’t seen a whole lot of chefs, much less a whole lot of celebrity chefs in action, but Morou looked like he was simply having fun. As we gathered our coats, and made our way back to the office, I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on the faces of my party, and those just finishing their meals – the diners were having just as much fun as Morou.
The food wasn’t perfect, and this young restaurant is still working out the kinks, but I’d consider any restaurant that I leave with a smile on my face one worth entering again.