An Omnivore's Dilemma

Meat two ways: pricey barbecue at T-Rex, bargain Moroccan at Tajine

The plump, perfect round of phyllo dough dusted with powdered sugar reveals a tasty, moist stuffing of shredded chicken, ground almonds, and eggs. My stewed chicken may have been cooked in one of the conical tajines that decorate the open kitchen — which takes up a big chunk of the storefront, leaving only enough room for four cramped tables for two — but it comes to the table already plated, a thigh and leg topped with preserved lemon shreds and olives, swimming in saffroned juice. A heap of fluffy couscous is topped with nicely gamy, tender lamb chunks, carrots, zucchini, and potatoes; it reminds me of the little couscous places I'd frequent as a student in Paris. The warm, crusty, delightful Moroccan bread is perfect for sopping up juices. I love this food, so much so that I'm almost willing to forgive the harsh light pouring down on us from decorative Moroccan wrought-iron lanterns (and I don't ask whether the meat is raised humanely and antibiotic-free). I admire a big bowl of harira, fragrant lentil soup, brought to an adjoining table. It looks like a meal, and it's only $3.50. We sip sweet mint tea from small glasses.

Tiny and Tasty: Tajine has room only for tables, but its flavor is huge.
James Sanders
Tiny and Tasty: Tajine has room only for tables, but its flavor is huge.

Location Info


T-Rex Barbeque

1300 10th St.
Berkeley, CA 94710

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: West Berkeley


T-Rex Barbeque

Pork ribs half rack, $14/full rack, $28

Celery root mashed potatoes $6

Corn bread $5


Chicken bastilla $7.50

Chicken tajine $9.50

Lamb couscous $9.50

Pot of mint tea small, $2.50/large, $3.50

T-Rex Barbeque, 1300 Gilman (at 10th St.), Berkeley, (510) 527-0099, Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11:30 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: easy, free lot. Noise level: moderate to high.

Tajine, 552 Jones (at O'Farrell), 440-1718. Open Sunday through Wednesday from noon to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday until 11 p.m. No reservations. Not wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: 27, 38. Noise level: moderate.

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When we say we'll try both the dessert offerings, baklava and shpakia (another honeyed Moroccan pastry, tubular and dusted with sesame seeds), our server again insists on saving us money: "They come two to a plate," he says, "so I'll just give you one of each."

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