La Cienega Kabob House Proves That Big Balls Can Be Good
If you work near La Cienega and Melrose chances are you’ve been to ink.sack for lunch by now. (You have been to ink.sack by now, right? Because if not, what the hell are you waiting for?! Go. Now! Well not now. It’s closed on Mondays. But go soon. It’s really good.) For those who have already been to ink.sack too many times, or don’t feel like waiting in line, or need lunch on a Monday, what are the other options in the area? Real Food Daily? No. Urth Caffe! You’re joking, right? What about La Cienega Kabob House? Now that looks like my kind of place…
I first heard about LCKH from Lunch’er Patricia, who recommended their koobideh kebab back in June of last year. Then word came that the place had closed up, but apparently that was only temporary. They’re back open now with new ownership and an expanded menu of Mediterranean offerings in addition to the Persian dishes they’ve always had.
Unlike the Persian restaurants in Westwood and West L.A., which have substantial Persian clientele, La Cienega Kabob House seems to cater a bit more towards their West Hollywood neighborhood. There is hummus and bababanoush on the appetizer menu, as well grape leaves, tabouleh, and falafel. Their pita bread is standard, and most likely store bought. But it comes out warm, and goes great with any of their dips, like the tasty lebni.
For lunch, if you’re looking for something distinctly Persian they do have gormeh sabzi, the tangy beef and greens stew that is the staple of any Persian menu. Their version is completely home-made and perfectly decent.
The beef koobideh kebab that Patricia recommended (listed as lule kabob on the menu, a hint that maybe the new owners are Armenian?) was even better. For $8.99 you get two, along with a nicely cooked basmati rice and grilled tomato. It could have used a bit of char on the outside, but on the plus side the meat was moist and tender.
Surprisingly, though, the best thing we tried was their falafel. I normally hate gigantic falafel balls, which usually end up dry and mealy on the inside (I’m looking at you Zankou.) But La Cienega Kabob House manages to keep theirs moist on the inside, and still nice and crunchy on the outside. And the flavor is fantastic. If I end up back at La Cienega Kabob House again, I will probably go with this. Five of them, plus hummus and salad is a ton of food for $8.99.
Better falafel than Habayit in West L.A.? Nope. And if I’m really in the mood for Persian food and have some time to kill I’ll probably go to one of the far better places in Westwood. But if I find myself in West Hollywood, craving some koobideh or falafel I wouldn’t hesitate heading back to La Cienega Kabob House. That is, until Michael Voltaggio ends up creating his own crazy take on falafel at ink.sack.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- For those of us who work in the area, this is a great Middle Eastern option!
- Good dips, tasty falafel, decent bread. What more could you want?
- Their gormeh sabzi is homemade.
- The falafel are super flavorful and not dried out. Good stuff.
- Their lule kabob’s are very moist and tender
The - (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Babaganoush? Hummus? Pita bread? I want some real Persian food!
- There’s better Persian food to the West and better Middle Eastern food to the East and South. Don’t bother with this place.
- I hate gigantic falafel balls. Terrible!
- Sometimes this place takes forever, even when it’s empty.
La Cienega Kabob House, 444 1/2 N. La Cienega Blvd. 310-659-3333