At Zerocater, we consider each time we have a meal as a new adventure. It is truly a treat when we get to experience something that we have never tried before, or may have not even known existed. Case in point, Mediterranean-Moroccan vendor Zerza, that ties in North African flavors.
Zerza opened in 2003 in New York City’s East Village and is owned and operated by Radouane Elijahouri and his mother who is the restaurant’s chef. The mother and son team focus on hearty North-African and Moroccan stews cooked in special clay pots called tagines. This slow cooked dish is typically made with any protein (frequently chicken, lamb, or seafood), vegetables, fruits, and a blend of spices.
Radouane first came to the United States on a college exchange program where he worked in the Moroccan pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot Center. There, he was able to give visitors a unique experience with original architecture, marketplace and a restaurant that served typical Moroccan staple foods. Working at Disney World not only allowed him to learn everything there is to know about customer service and hospitality, but also to have a better understanding of working with and serving people from all different types of cultures.
Combining his knowledge gleaned from his time at Disney, and his upbringing around authentic Moroccan food, Elijahouri decided to take his talents to New York City. Two years after opening up Zerza, he convinced his mother, the woman whose cooking had the biggest influence on his eventual path, to oversee all of the food in the restaurant, to make sure that it was as genuine as possible.
Although Zerza is known for their Tagines, they have a wide array of other Mediterranean options to choose from, such as merguez (lamb/beef sausage common in North Africa and parts of Europe), kefta (Moroccan inspired meatball), and traditional Moroccan dips, like Matbutcha (red pepper and tomatoes) and Bakoula (spinach, lemon and chickpeas).
Zerza is located at 320 6th Street, between 1st & 2nd Avenues, in New York City’s East Village. Stop by this week to experience them for yourself!