Finding parking space is the only occasion in which most people head south on upper 4th Ave. in Hillcrest. After all, aside from hair salons and the popular bakery Bread and Cie, there isn’t much there for most of us.
For this reason, it is easy not to notice the 1980’s Miami motif white building with equally white railing that downstairs houses the Moroccan enclave known as Kous Kous.
Inside you’ll enter a world unlike the rest of Hillcrest - a collection of hanging tapestries and stained glass light fixtures which, like the downtempo world music being played, float above dining tables and chairs flanked by couches and cushions, reflecting a world with a wider color palette than our own.
Visually, Kous Kous is a getaway.
Specializing in tagines, Kous Kous’ Moroccan cuisine serves a variety of slow cooked stews, including seafood, beef and vegetarian options. While wine is served, Moroccan mint tea seemed apropos.
For starters, (not pictured) the B’stila roll was a flavorful chicken stuffed phyllo pastry. Light and flaky, the roll offered a good combination of savory and sweet, covered in honey cinnamon almonds.
The lamb shank tagine also captures Kous Kous’ efforts to blend the sweet and the savory, served as a hearty dish bathed in caramelized fruit and honey sauce. Entrees include the choice of cous cous or garlic mashed potatoes.
In addition to tagines, Kous Kous offers grilled entrees. The ahi tuna brochettes with garlic mashed potatoes were mostly moist and clean tasting, served on a bed of small cut of cucumbers and other vegetables. Overall, the light tastes of the tuna worked well with the peppery taste of the garlic potatoes.
Lunch is cheap at Kous Kous with most plates under $10. At dinner, pictured above, entrees cost twice as much.
But even at $16-$20, Kous Kous not only offers a flavorful combination of sweet and savory spices, it also offers an unlikely escape into another world. And it’s only downstairs.
Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro
3940 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103