Kabab Mahaleh is a Lunch Best Enjoyed by 4
Remember the days when you had to drive all the way to the valley for fresh baked Persian sangak? Now there’s not only Naan Hut in West L.A. (which also serves sangak pizza!?) but Kabab Mahaleh as well, a casual Kosher spot on Pico discovered by Squid Ink’s Elina Shatkin back in September. When I first visited a few months ago, the tables were mostly empty and the menu consisted of a few kabab options, printed out on a piece of paper, along with a rice dish and a salad option on display on the counter. Tasty, no doubt, but still a work in progress.
Fast forward to this week, and you’ll find a packed house during lunch, ordering off a printed menu hanging above the register. In other words, the word is out. This place is awesome.
The ground meat koobideh kababs are still $6 and come with sangak, roasted tomato, and raw onion. But they’ve also added a bunch of side dishes for $2-4
There is a solid version of kashk-e-bademjan (roasted eggplant dip topped with yogurt and fried onions) for just $3.99. As well as a cucumber yogurt dip and salad featuring chopped tomato and cucumber.
There are also 3 different rice options. Plain for $2.99, green rice (sabzi polo) for $3.99, and a version with dried cranberries (zereshk polo) for $3.99. They’re not as good as the rice you get at Javan in West L.A., but for $4 it’s a great deal and the perfect add on to an order of koobideh. They also offer two stews for just $9, including the Persian standard gormeh sabzi.
As great as Kabab Mahaleh is for lunch, going alone is a big mistake. Since the kababs are only $6, you have room to add on one side dish and keep the meal under $10. But the real parties happen at the tables of four or five. Giant platter of koobideh in the center of the table alongside rice, salad, yogurt *and* roasted eggplant dip. No utensils necessary! Just your hands, and a piece of torn sangak, and you’re good to go.
The sangak might not be as good as Naan Hut (unless you like your bread a bit more on the charred to a crisp side of things), but for a koobideh lunch with fresh baked bread, rice and dips there is no better spot right now than Kabab Mahaleh (Westwood Blvd be damned!) Just make sure you grab a couple of friends before heading over…
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- There is nothing better than fresh baked sangak… and seeing how there isn’t any on Westwood Blvd, this is your closest option to the East.
- $6 koobideh? $4 eggplant dip and cranberry rice? What a bargain!
- One of the best Kosher lunch options on the Pico corridor
- I like my sangak with a bit of char, and these guys leave it in that extra minute to make it perfect
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The kebabs and rice are a bit better at Javan
- The sangak can be overcooked sometimes. I prefer the stuff they make at Naan Hut.
- You order at a counter, and they have a single person bringing out the food so service can be a bit harried.
- Where’s the hummus and pita bread? And falafel? No thanks!
- I wish they had a $10 lunch special that gave you everything so I didn’t have to find friends to go with me
Kabab Mahaleh, 8762 W. Pico Blvd. 310-275-3000