It has been many years since I visited the Carthage at 1851 Commercial Drive — and I have no idea why it has taken me so long to go back. Today, with a good friend, the everloving and I had lunch there and it was wonderful.
The space is lovely; not too small, but intimately dark, and beautifully decorated in the style of a French brasserie with Tunisian accents. The tables are comfortably large and exquisitely dressed with good quality silver and sparkling stemware. Service was very good, friendly, knowledgeable, and never crowding.
I had the Carthage mussels. There were a good many of them, all splendid, and drenched in a marvelous cumin and harissa liquor. They have good quality bread, too, which helped soak it up. It is a long time since I enjoyed mussels as good as these. The everloving had the steak sandwich, which also came with a harissa-based sauce. She declared it to be “great!”. Our friend had one of the daily specials, a fish stew which looked tremendous and which he thoroughly enjoyed. All of the dishes were more than sufficient for lunch, and each was plated beautifully. Prices were on the moderate side of normal.
One small caveat — the frites were a little disappointing and, unlike everything else, were served without much care. This could be improved without too much effort.
Our friend has a relative in a wheelchair. He told us that he once made a reservation for them and, upon their arrival, found that the tables had been specifically re-arranged to make life as convenient as possible for the wheelchair-bound diner. That’s good service.
All in all this was a joyful experience, and I am sure we will return before too long. Well recommended.