Mourad is like Ezekiel 25:17 — have it memorized, but only for special occasions. Unless you have effectively unlimited resources, in which case, why not eat here every night? Everything we had was delicious, but it's pretty bloody expensive.
Come to think of it, most of the tables around us looked like they had effectively unlimited resources. Or at least that they had advanced far enough in life to not care about disposing with what resources they did have. This is all a roundabout way of saying the crowd was old. Which is cool, ya know, but probably not what you're looking for on a first date or on a Friday night. (Not a huge surprise the SF Chronicle LOVES the ambience.)
To harp on the atmosphere a bit more: the decor seemed pricey, but a bit tacky? The wall of wine bottles was cool (as they are), but the shinier touches looked like someone went wild on a Pier 1 shopping spree. It didn't evoke shock and awe, like some restaurants do. Turning the lights down a bit might do wonders.
But back to the food, since that's the feature here. It is freaking immaculate. The basteeya and flatbreads continue to be unmissable carryovers from Aziza, the chef's previous restaurant. But you could just order the chicken and call it a day. It comes with couscous, kale, potato, and cabbage, and we'll elaborate below, but you want them all.
Compared to most restaurants, Mourad is killer – the food alone bumps it up into a special category. But we like Aziza a little more, because the unique mashed-fruit cocktails (missing here), crazy bright-colored-wall decor, and adventure out to the Richmond make it more of an experience. Mourad feels a bit like the Las Vegas version of an upscale Moroccan restaurant — showier and more manicured, but missing a bit of soul.
The burrito-shaped version of the crackling duck confit pastry that made eponymous Mourad famous. It's more concise, but no less delicious.
It's grilled pita with miscellany to dip it in. You want it.
A giant juicy chicken. Brined in who knows what...it's so good. So moist and delicious. If you don't like this, you will never love a chicken. Comes with three sauces, all varying in acid/spice/sweetness, all of which you'll want to get involved. If you have more people or money, you may want to go with the short rib or lamb, but, even so, this is an amazing option.
Couscous: buttery and way better than the version we had at Aziza. Bar none, the paragon of the form.
Kale: Acidic but delicious. The Moroccan version of collard greens.
Potato: More buttery flavors. Excellent but rich.
Cabbage: Lighter and a nice palate-kicker.