December 10, 2013

Baida, St. Louis’ First Moroccan Restaurant, is an Addictive Introduction

The m’lwee, like the rest of Baida’s menu, is traditional Moroccan fare, made all the more surprising by the fact that the chef is an American. Owners Abder and Assia Meskine enlisted chef Jeremy Bowman (formerly of Lola and Eleven Eleven Mississippi) to help them translate their vision and spent days pouring over Assia’s recipes and giving Bowman a crash course in Moroccan cuisine. The result is a menu that features traditional homemade specialties true to their North African origins married with the experience required to run a professional kitchen. Entrusting a stranger to carry forth the culinary heritage of their country was a gamble, but it paid off for the Meskines.

Keep reading: Cheryl Baehr's review of Baida.

Photos by Jennifer Silverberg for the Riverfront Times.
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M'lwee might be Baida's signature dish: It's a flaky layered pastry stuffed with kefta (beef), garlic, cumin, coriander, herbs and other spices, then pan-fried. M'lwee is served with harissa on the side.
M'lwee might be Baida's signature dish: It's a flaky layered pastry stuffed with kefta (beef), garlic, cumin, coriander, herbs and other spices, then pan-fried. M'lwee is served with harissa on the side.
"Beef brochettes" is a grilled beef skewer with harissa, red charmoula sauce and flat bread, served with loubia.
"Beef brochettes" is a grilled beef skewer with harissa, red charmoula sauce and flat bread, served with loubia.
Rabbit tajine is slowly braised with onions, carrots, turnips and potatoes and is served in a rich herb broth.
Rabbit tajine is slowly braised with onions, carrots, turnips and potatoes and is served in a rich herb broth.
Rabbit tajine is slowly braised with onions, carrots, turnips and potatoes and is served in a rich herb broth.
Rabbit tajine is slowly braised with onions, carrots, turnips and potatoes and is served in a rich herb broth.
The vegetarian couscous is prepared with large cuts of seven vegetables and garbanzo beans atop a bed of couscous. A warm seasoned broth is served on the side.
The vegetarian couscous is prepared with large cuts of seven vegetables and garbanzo beans atop a bed of couscous. A warm seasoned broth is served on the side.
The "Briwat Trio" brings three deep-fried turnovers of thin phyllo dough, one stuffed with beef, one chicken and one vegetable.
The "Briwat Trio" brings three deep-fried turnovers of thin phyllo dough, one stuffed with beef, one chicken and one vegetable.
The dining room at Baida.
The dining room at Baida.
Outside Baida.
Outside Baida.
Baida's bar.
Baida's bar.
The dining room at Baida.
The dining room at Baida.