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Bouabid Gassimi (pictured at right with co-owner Jeff Jdia), the original owner of the tucked away, hole-in-the-wall, La Maison du Couscous in Bay Ridge, has left that restaurant (now under new management at 484 77th St.) and opened another cafe in the neighborhood, Les Babouches.

Gassimi’s spin-off, which opened in September, is a grander version of the first with tangerine-colored walls and benches strewn with mirrored textiles. Les Babouches (a French term for Turkish, heel-less slippers) even offers diners a hookah - a Moroccan bong of sorts, filled with crystallized apples and peaches - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings ($20 for approximately 15 minutes).

But all that exotica is simply a backdrop for lusty "tagines," richly spiced stews, served in conical, lidded clay pots; fluffy couscous, and "zaalouk" (roasted eggplant salad) smoky and rich with garlic. There’s also a full bar where one can try a "Morocini" (a martini made with mango juice) that may be the perfect after-election cocktail to celebrate - or just numb the pain.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 9 pm to 11 pm, Shahrazad, a belly dancer, shows off her abs.

Les Babouches (7803 Third Ave. at 78th Street in Bay Ridge) accepts Visa and MasterCard. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed Mondays. Entrees: $12-$17. For reservations, call (718) 833-1700.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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