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At Ash’Kara in Boulder, executive chef and co-owner Daniel Asher regularly watches patrons recognize their grandmothers’ cooking in his dishes. “There are folks from the Middle East here every night with stories to share about family recipes,” says Asher, who opened the original Ash’Kara in LoHi in 2018 and debuted this second location in April. The nostalgia-inducing specialties served at both spots—wood-roasted carrots with pearlescent labneh, silky hummus, earthy baba ghanoush—are inspired by Asher’s travels in Israel and the blending of cultures across countries of the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.
At the convivial Pearl Street restaurant, which offers a mostly vegetarian lineup, those influences are best tasted in the mushroom tagine. The made-for-sharing beauty features multiple varieties of locally grown fungi stewed in a conical clay pot with velvety potatoes and yams, sweet figs and apricots, and harissa-spiced tomato broth. Sop up the rich, acidic sauce with a piping-hot pita alongside your chosen family.