Morocco native opens restaurant

Longtime Charlotte executive chef-owner Sam Roussi opened a Moroccan-Mediterranean cuisine restaurant called Marrakesh on July 8 in Shops on the Green, and he didn't have to go far for recipes.

Roussi, a native of Morocco, grew up with the couscous, chicken Pastilla and other homemade Moroccan selections on the menu.

Couscous, the Moroccan national dish, is steamed semolina grains. It's usually served with seven vegetables or with chicken or lamb.

Chicken Pastilla is a baked filo dough stuffed with chicken, eggs, almonds, onions, saffron and orange.

Appetizers such as Mussels a la Marocaine are offered, along with authentic Moroccan soups and salads and various fish, chicken, lamb and beef entrées. Everything is grilled.

The 200-seat restaurant's décor is all-Moroccan. There's also a meeting/party room and a stage for belly dancer performances at 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The restaurant has outdoor seating, and a Moroccan hookah pipe is available.

Roussi has been a chef for 25 years, including for Ritz Carlton and other major hotel chains and as an executive chef at the former La Bibliothèque in Charlotte and the former Splash in Cornelius. He also owns Casablanca Café in the University area.

Marrakesh is open 4-11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Plans are also to open the restaurant for lunch soon. Details: 704-987-5157.