Uh-oh! Dinner guests are 20 minutes away and you're the not-so hostess with the mostess with a burnt chicken in the oven. If you're near Mayfair, let Zebda save the day with prepared North African meals to go.
Centered in a highly Muslim-populated community, Zebda differentiates itself as a take-out/catering focused business by modernizing (or as partners Katie Garcia and Mohammed Djeddour like saying "zebdanizing") typical Arabic/Mediterranean recipes and making them healthier and accessible to other cultures, while still preserving the use of halal meats (non-pork items of animals culled according to Islamic tradition).
The name derives from a French slang term for French citizens of Maghreb (Algerian, Moroccan or Tunisian) origin. The Zebda movement in itself emboldens the French minority Arabs with media probing social injustice and societal exclusion, a newfound passion of Garcia's which she describes as "something that needed to be talked about."
However, what you don't want to get her started on is where other like-minded establishments get off charging their customers $14 for a sandwich. She's over the track lights and French doors ubiquitous elsewhere. "Been there, done that," she says. "Luxury should be comfortable, not intimidating, and food that's good doesn't have to be unaffordable."
With that said, appreciate the walls void of gold leaves and ceilings absent of chandeliers, for that makes for a cheaper meal. The general practice involves taking everyday favorites and remixing them, though not to be confused with fusion, Garcia says.
An example includes goat cheese ravioli with eggplant, fig and tomato compote. Another item substitutes the cocktail sauce used in custom shrimp cocktails with fig ketchup. The list continues with modern deli selections; tadjine (stews); couscous varieties; flatbreads made with a special Algerian breakfast bread; sweets and a juice bar with the dreamy Moroccan Dream (peaches, yogurt, cherries and a honey glaze). Delivery is available.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez