Archive for 'Beverly Hills'

L.A. is Having an Israeli Falafel Moment (Capped Off by NYC Chef Einat Admony’s Visit This Week!)

Between Pico’s Kosher corridor and the Valley there has never been a shortage of good falafel in Los Angeles.  And the past few years have seen some new spots worth getting excited about (Joe’s Falafel in 2012, Hummus Bar Express in 2013). But since the beginning of the year there has been an explosion of new and delicious Israeli falafel joints, enough to make it feel like L.A. might be on the brink of having a falafel moment.  Here are four new’ish falafel places all worth checking outm and, if that isn’t enough, the chef behind New York’s best falafel is doing a series of dinners  in L.A. week.  Details about that are at the end of the post…

The Newly Expanded

IMG_9606Name: Ta-eem
Address: 7422 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
Phone: 323-944-0013
Falafel in Pita Price: $6.95
Laffa: Yes ($9.95)
This popular but tiny falafel shop on the lunch (and t-shirt) wasteland that is Melrose Ave. isn’t tiny anymore. At the end of last year this small lunch counter with limited seating took over the hair salon next door, and morphed into a full fast-casual restaurant with plenty of room and loads of places to take a load off.  The one thing that didn’t change? The delicious menu of shawarma, kebabs, merguez and, of course, falafel, topped with their vast assortment of salads, and all served on fluffy Israeli style pita or laffa.

Read more »

Genwa’s New La Cienega Location Has a Few Little Surprises


Let me be the first to say thank you to Gyu Kaku for your years of service.  While your food has never been worth going out of the way for, your branch on La Cienega provided a fun option in Beverly Hills to people who like grilling their own meats and grilling their own smores.  Thank you, that is, but your services are no longer needed.  Here’s your engraved watch, enjoy your retirement.  Because now that Genwa has opened up their second location across the street, there is really no reason for anybody to ever go to Gyu Kaku again- unless you really are some kind of smores obsessed maniac.

Seeing as how Genwa’s first location is located on Miracle Mile, just outside Koreatown, and its decor and menu is decidedly inviting to white people,  it’s no surprise to see them expand into Beverly Hills.  But their quality meats and unreal variety of banchan make it a genuinely great option for Korean food lovers of all levels.  In other words, Beverly Hills is really lucky to have this place.

Read more »

Bibigo Finds Its Natural Home… In a Food Court


It’s been over two years since the Korean chain Bibigo opened its first U.S. location in Westwood Village, bringing fast food bibimbap and spicy pork to UCLA students and Westwood office workers.  And while writers who got treated to free meals raved about it, those of us who spend any time in Koreatown were slightly less enthusiastic.  A great Westwood lunch option, no doubt.  But nothing to get overly excited about.

Staying true to its goal of becoming the McDonald’s of Korean food, Bibigo has opened two more L.A. locations since then,  Including a “casual dining” location in Beverly Hills and most recently an outpost at the Century City Mall food court. And even more recently they added a few new items to the menu at their Westwood location, one of which is worth checking out.

Read more »

U-Sushi Promises Robots, Delivers Surprisingly Fun Lunch


I was promised there would be robots.  Sushi making robots.  It’s pretty much the only thing that would draw me to Beverly Hills for sushi, arguably the worst place in the city if you’re on the hunt for a raw fish bargain. But money is not an issue when robots are involved, and clearly my cheesy robot movies of the 80s filled brain needed to see this maki making machine in action.  I mean, are we talking a set of John Lithgow powered robotic arms handling raw fish in a sealed glass case like it was plutonium, Manhattan Project Style.  Or was this going to be some kind of love-able Johnny Number 5 type machine, making corny jokes as he rolls my spicy tuna roll. (I do seem to remember him mentioning sushi in one of my favorite lines of the movie.  Salmon to be precise.)

Sadly the “robot” looked more like a woodchipper than the Terminator, a headless, armless, legless Wall-E of sorts, minus the personality of course. In fact, the robot portion of the show consists of a metal box that spreads rice onto a pice of seaweed before your roll gets assembled by an organic, sentient being.  There’s a second, smaller box at the end of the assembly line that cuts your roll if you want it cut.  But calling that a robot would be like calling a hard boiled egg slicer a computer.  I quickly came to the realization that the talk of robots was just PR overindulgence meant to sucker people like me into visiting U-Sushi in Beverly Hills, and it worked.  Surprisingly, though, even without any A.I. I still managed to piece together a pretty fun and delicious lunch.

Read more »

Brooklyn Water Bagel Co: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


When Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, which is partly owned by Larry King, opened its first west coast franchise in Beverly Hills last month a ton of red flags went up. First and most obvious is the Larry King thing. Seriously… that’s your selling point? (Can that guy’s dentures even cut through a real bagel?) Then there was the whole “Brooklyn water” thing, which anybody who has ever been to a New York style pizza place in L.A. should be familiar with. (Really? You pay to have water flown in from New York City to make that pizza? You’re an idiot.) Oh, but don’t worry. Brooklyn Water Bagel Company doesn’t use actual Brooklyn water. They’ve developed a “proprietary water treatment technology system” to create the ideal water for making bagels. (Idiots as well.)

And yet something about their nonsense worked. Maybe it was my one and only soul crushing experience at Noah’s, or the impending Passover holiday, but something willed me to go and check out the bagel that Larry King claims transported him back to Brooklyn with one bite.

Read more »

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop is a Cheap Beverly Hills Lunch I Can Get Behind


Everybody I’ve met who works in Beverly Hills has pretty much told me the same thing… it is a wasteland of overpriced power lunches. You want cheap, interesting food- you’re going to have to go out of your way.  Cheap and decent ethnic food?! Good luck.  But I haven’t given up just yet, and when Los Angeles Magazine put Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop on their list of the best sandwiches in L.A. I couldn’t help but get a little bit excited.

See, I like sandwiches.  But not just any sandwich.  “The best” roast beef sandwich doesn’t nothing for me.  Dip that same sandwich in gravy, or cover it in horseradish and then we’re talking. “The best” turkey sandwich? Snore.  Top that turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, and serve it in a month other than November… now we’re getting somewhere.  Oh, and cole slaw and russian dressing automatically makes any sandwich better.  Which brings us to Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop (on Wilshire).  They’ve got both.

Read more »