Marrakech Cafe – 4116 Broadway Street, Kansas City, MO 64111, (816) 753-7520

Morocco now enjoys representation among the array of ethnic fare available in Westport. Since opening not quite a year ago, this small storefront just south of the Broadway Cafe quickly became a regular lunch destination for many of my colleagues, and when I joined them one day it was easy to see why. The tiny staff of 2 or 3 are very friendly and seem excited to be sharing their own comfort food with midtown. And naturally, the food itself is delicious.

Couscous made on site figures prominently in main dishes, and due to its freshness it has far more character than just the tasteless filler I’ve come to think of it. The grains almost have a spring to them.

It’s easy to make a complete meal just out of the appetizers and sides. Chicken skewers, a salad and soup seem to be a popular combination. The cucumber and tomato salad might remind you of gazpacho with its cool favors and a light, tangy vinaigrette flecked with fresh herbs. You can go for the more familiar lentil soup, or try the harira, a traditional Moroccan favorite of lentil broth and chickpeas.

From the grill come kabobs of chicken, beef, or merguez, a lamb/beef sausage popular in North Africa. Those of you counting carbs might especially like the kabob plates minus the rice; the meat strips are served on a lettuce leaf alongside what appeared to be a melange of grilled cabbage, onion, and squash. (And if you don’t want your seasoned rice, I’ll have yours.) The sandwiches with many of the same ingredients and flavors in the dinner entrees are fairly large.

Dessert selection seems to vary, but items that were available on my visits included baklava and tiramisu, both very well executed.

Enjoy any of these selections with the house’s signature drink, an addictive green tea sweetened with honey.

From what I have heard, the owners, brothers Amine and Nouri Kamal worked in catering and other areas of food service before opening Marrakesh Cafe, and you can tell from the service and their passion for the food that opening this restaurant must of been a longtime dream of theirs. It’s the kind of place one really loves to see succeed, and here’s hoping it does.