One of the bigger openings this year has arrived: ~MOURAD~, logging in at an eye-popping 258 seats in the historic 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building designed by Timothy Pflueger (which also houses Trou Normand). This is chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s second restaurant under his sole ownership, his first being Aziza, which he opened in 2001 in the Outer Richmond.
Any Aziza regulars can attest how the self-taught chef’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and this new project will continue his exploration of where Northern California ingredients and traditional Moroccan dishes intersect. A sample menu has items that read simply (“Mackerel: herb jam, rye panisse, puntarelle, sorrel”), but one look at images of his modern Moroccan dishes reveals a complexity of preparation, presentation, and flavors. There is also a tasting menu for $150.
Lahlou has brought on chef de cuisine Chris Kajioka, who worked for Ron Siegel when he helmed the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and later for Per Se in New York, Aziza, Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington State, and Vintage Cave in Hawaii. He has a contemporary French style with a Japanese sensibility. Look for more on the native Hawaiian’s upcoming project, Restaurant CK, later this year.
Joining the team is Master Sommelier Alan Murray, formerly at Masa’s; cocktails are by Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless of Wizard Oil; and Melissa Chou (Aziza) will also run the pastry show at this location.
Lundberg Design designed the contemporary two-level space. You’ll see Moroccan influences and motifs (a great deal was inspired by a trip Lundberg and Lahlou took to Marrakesh) paired with modern touches like a suspended steel and glass wine bridge that houses a backlit wine cellar. There’s also a spacious lounge and bar area.
Open nightly for dinner 5:30pm-10pm. 140 New Montgomery at Mission, 415-660-2500.