African cuisine is quite common in Fort Greene, but Kif is a standout.
The Moroccan eatery is a radical departure from the hustle of DeKalb Avenue from the moment you enter. Stylish, colorful globes illuminate the dining area lined with pillows and plush cushions. New age, soothing music rounds out the mellow ambiance — all that’s missing is the haze of hashish smoke.
Given this laid back atmosphere, it should come as no surprise that the service is a little, well, slow. But who really is in a hurry to leave, anyway?
The shrimp tagine ($13), served in a simmering tomato-based sauce in the signature clay pot alongside some fresh pita, was spicy and garlicky.
The eggplant puree ($6), served chilled along with more pita, was an excellent compliment to the fiery crustacean. It tasted fresh and had a cooling, palate- cleansing effect.
The only misfire of the massive meal was the lamb merguez ($6), which was dry and lacked the familiar spice that makes the Middle Eastern sausage so delicious. The unattractive presentation — there’s no way to elegantly describe it — didn’t do the dish any favors, either.
But the dinner got back on track with the epic seafood tagine ($24). The meal came in an extra large clay pot, and was brimming over with mussels, salmon, shrimp, tilapia, artichokes, potatoes, carrots, and peppers — all of it drenched in a simmering spicy coconut curry sauce. The broth was the star of the show — it begged to be soaked in leftover pita. The salmon was somewhat dry, but combined with the sauce and eaten alongside the loads of other ingredients, that was merely an afterthought.
By the end of this mighty Moroccan meal I was ready to curl up among the pillows throughout the restaurant. It’s a stretch to crown Kif king of African cuisine, what with Abistro, Madiba, and Joloff all serving up their own spicy and complex dishes. But there is no doubt Kif is a challenger to the throne.