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Omnivore - At Couscous: a savory bowl of a North African favorite

The owners of Perla Taqueria return to their roots.

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It's always nice to be greatly surprised by a restaurant that hasn't really drawn a whole lot of attention. That was the case Friday night when my friends and I landed at Couscous, located in the former Amuse spot at the end of Dutch Valley Road.

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The restaurant is owned by the same trio that operates Perla Taqueria on Piedmont Road. Chefs Khaled Chebbi and Lotfi Chabaane are of Tunisian heritage and their menu features mainly North African cuisine, plus a few dishes to protect those with cowardly palates from the horror of experimentation. There are also vegan and gluten-free dishes.

Three of us at the table Friday night ordered the "couscous feast" that included braised lamb, roasted chicken and vegetables over a bed of the fluffy couscous, soaking in the meats' juices. I give it an A+.

Others at the table ordered the (inevitable) hanger steak, here served Parisian-style with fries and a peppercorn sauce. Another ordered the pan-roasted chicken breast with harissa-carrot puree. All were happy.

Couscous, open for dinner and Sunday brunch only, is quite moderately priced. My dish was the menu's most expensive at $20, but most entrees run $17 or less; small plates and salads average $7. Sandwiches - braised lamb and merquez sausage, for example - are $11 or lower. I look forward to trying more of the menu to see if its overall quality is as good as the dish I ordered.