CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Croton's newest dining option is a blend of Moroccan and French cuisines, presented by the restaurateurs who brought Umami and Peter Pratt's to Croton and Yorktown, respectively.
Tagine has an urban French bistro feel with a menu to suit traditionalists and the adventurous. The menu is a collection of classics, such as steak frites and salade nicoise, as well as Moroccan options that can't be found this side of Interstate 287.
A tagine is a traditional African clay cooking pot composed of two pieces; a low-sided dish on the bottom and a conical top that sits on the dish during cooking.
"We love the idea of something that would be playful French without being snobby French," said Craig Purdy, co-owner of Tagine with partner Jon Pratt. "So Jon and I admired these various French restaurants, and we said, 'Oh, we'd love to do one."
Purdy said he was strongly influenced by a trip he'd taken to France and Morocco in his early 30s, "I bummed around Europe for a couple months," and New York City restaurants like Balthazar.
Despite a wide selection of French options, Purdy said about half of their diners order Moroccan dishes. He said he believes the community has been, "intrigued, pleasantly surprised and amused by what we did in here."
Coincidentally, after a seven-month renovation of Tagine came to fruition, Purdy found the perfect utility player to help with the restaurant's opening. Leila D'heurle is a 24-year-old French citizen who spent most of her teen years helping in her mother's Casablanca, Morocco restaurant.
"She's a triple threat," said Purdy about D'heurle. "She can do service, she can cook and she can restructure my debt." As a French university student, D'heurle majored in finance.
"I was very excited to see what the food would be like," said D'heurle, whose father was a Croton-Harmon High School alumnus. "It’s what Moroccan people eat," she said. "I think there's a lot of saveur," said D'heurle.
Tagine is at 120 Grand St., Croton, just around the corner from The Black Cow. Purdy said the restaurant currently has limited seating. Tagine is open from 5-9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It's number is 914-827-9393.