Big Fat Pita Serves the Closest Thing to NYC Street Meat I’ve Seen in L.A.
Midtown Manhattan has got practically nothing on Los Angeles. Go through my list of faves, and there is practically nothing I could get in NYC for lunch that I can’t get here. But there is plenty here you’d be hard pressed to find there (good Thai, good Mexican and great Persian food, just to name a few). But there is one thing I do miss from working all those years in Midtown. Street meat. Chicken and lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce is 100% New York City. The halal food street meat plate was invented on the streets of NYC, and it doesn’t seem to have made it past the city line.
Until now? While walking through the Westfield Mall in Culver City the other day I couldn’t help but notice somebody eating a styrofoam tray of food that looked suspiciously like street meat! Could this be the breakthrough we’ve been looking for? Only one way to find out…
With locations in the food courts at the Westfield Malls in Culver City and Century City, Big Fat Pita is a seemingly standard mall food court Greek place. They’ve got salads, platters, and pita sandwiches, stuffed or topped with gyro, chicken, falafel, and salmon. But I quickly honed in on the Olympian Rice Bowl for $7.95. Rice topped with tomatoes, onions, your choice of meat (gyro/chicken/etc.) and your choice of sauce. And what’s that? They’re willing to do chicken *and* gyro in the same rice bowl? Yes, please.
It almost brought a tear to my eye. Despite being called a “bowl”, the food was served up in a takeout container that will look familiar to the hardened Midtown Luncher. Also, their gyro was cut right off the spit, just the way you like to see. Sadly their tzatziki isn’t quite the mayo-tastic white sauce you get at most halal carts in NYC, and the red sauce was more watery and vinegar-y than the real deal harissa’ish stuff that burns your face off on the streets of Midtown. Plus the chicken and gyro meat weren’t all chopped up into bits, and the rice wasn’t the dry yellow basmati that the good streets carts do so well. In other words, it didn’t really taste anything like the chicken and lamb over rice you get on, say, 53rd Street and 6th Ave. But it was a great lunch. And just looking at it, for that brief moment before I took that first hopeful bite, brought a big smile to my face.
Did I also mention they stuff french fries in their pita sandwiches? Street meat or not, this place is a keeper.
Big Fat Pita (Two Locations)
- Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 310-282-8500
- Westfield Culver City, 6000 Sepulveda Blvd, 310-390-2020