Show 283, July 28, 2018: Alain Cohen, Chef / Proprietor Harissa & Got Kosher Bakery and Deli, Los Angeles

Alain Cohen of Harissa RestaurantHarissa in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles is the transformation of the long-running Got Kosher restaurant going back to 2005. It’s Tunisian fare (Kosher) with French accents and, now, a carefully selected beer and wine list, too.

Harissa, the restaurant, pays homage to Chef Alain Cohen’s Tunisian origins, his family’s Paris restaurant, and his American culinary experiences. Harissa, the name, celebrates the beloved spicy sauce that symbolizes Chef Cohen’s vibrant cuisine. In fact, harissa is so valued in Tunisia that an old wives’ tale suggests a husband can judge his wife’s affections by the number of hot peppers she uses when preparing his food.

Indeed, Chef Cohen’s harissa sauce stays true to the family recipe, that dates back generations to Tunisia—and while Harissa’s harissa has heat, the emphasis is on balance, not just spiciness

“Tunisian cuisine is more savory than its Moroccan neighbor, which leads into the sweet side. Central to Tunisian cuisine is couscous, and you will find the dish well represented in our menu. As well, sample Chef Cohen’s signature Tunisian specialties–including house-made merguez sausage, traditional break pastry, fricassee, and pates a la but argue. Chef Cohen’s sausage making skills are also on display with our house-made charcuterie. And that’s just the beginning…”

“Chef Cohen has created a menu with something for every taste. Start with our diverse appetizer menu–if your taste runs to small plates and a glass of wine or beer. For a simpler lunch, enjoy our salads and sandwiches. And, if you want to immerse your palate in French Tunisian cooking, well, there is a full page devoted to these satisfyingly classic dishes.”

We’ll catch up with Chef / Proprietor Alain Cohen.