By Seth Daniel
It was about two years ago that Tangierino owner Samad Naamad began to notice that tastes were changing – people didn’t want the big meals and large multi-course productions when they were coming out to his longtime Main Street Moroccan eatery.
He noticed it also at other restaurants he went to.
Dining habits were changing, and Naamad said it was time for him to change, as well.
That’s when he decided he would open up a smaller restaurant next to Tangierino that featured smaller bites and shared dishes – a cuisine that fit perfectly with his love for Spanish Tapas, which are very popular in his native country of Morocco.
“A restaurant is a moving target, and so you have to always be moving with the target,” he said. “I started noticing two years ago people didn’t want the big meal. I said to myself, ‘People have changed.’ They want to go out often and they want smaller portions and they want to share. I was starting to adapt to that concept, but I like things to be perfect. So, I decided to go for it fully and instead of doing things slowly, do it the right way. I think that’s what started it all and gave birth to Madera 83. If I didn’t close up, you wouldn’t get the right décor. I want people to get the true experience of Spanish Tapas. They not only have to eat the authentic food, but also feel like they are in Spain when they do.
Naamad closed down both restaurants three months ago, and decided to open a separate concept apart from Tangierino – which he is also completely changing and renovating right now (it is slated to re-open in a week or so).
That second concept was Madera 83, a smaller place at 83 Main St., next door to the restaurant and hookah bar. The new place has a full bar featuring great wines from many different regions, almost all served by the glass so that one doesn’t have to buy a full bottle to experience the entirety of his expertly curated collection.
That goes along with a new and innovative Spanish Tapas menu featuring wonderful dishes with shrimp and lamb designed by Chef Matthew Leddy. The new spot had a soft opening last weekend, and is now ready to welcome residents from the Town for something new.
Two dishes in particular are spot-on in the early going – including the Gamba al Ajillo (griddled shrimp) and the sweet and tasty Castillas de cordero asadas (roasted lamb ribs).
All are in smaller bites and at what Naamad thinks is a great price point.
“Things have changed and it’s time to do something different,” he said. “I love Spanish Tapas, and when I started Tangierino, I decided between a Moroccan concept and a Spanish Tapas concept. We’ll have small bites, things to share and 40 bottles of wine by the glass. It brings some excitement in Charlestown and something new to the Charlestown dining scene. I wanted to create something like this so the residents of Charlestown don’t have to go far to get great tapas and be able to have wine from all over the world without having to buy a full bottle. Our neighbors don’t have to go to Boston to get this kind of menu.”