Not having to drive all the way to the Valley for some fresh baked sangak is a great thing for those of us who live in L.A. proper. But being able to get solid, under $10 kebab lunch specials alongside that fresh baked Persian bread is what made Kabab Mahaleh (8762 Pico Blvd, just East of Robertson) one of my favorite 21 lunches in Los Angeles to share with people from out of town. So when I heard that a rotisserie spit had popped in their window a few weeks back, I got pretty excited. And on Friday I finally got to check it out (with a friend from out of town, of course!)
Archive for 'Persian'
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.
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…
When Naan Hut opened at the beginning of the year on Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A., fans of freshly baked sangak who live or work on the westside rejoiced. The ironing board sized bread is the hallmark of any truly great Persian bakery, and those of us who live or work on the westside were excited to not have to drive all the way to the Valley for fresh baked sangak goodness. As a fan of lunch I was also excited that they were serving chicken and beef kebabs with sangak for $6-8.
Back when they first opened the “menu” was clearly a work in progress, scrawled on sheets of paper hanging on the walls. But the other day I was wandering past the store and noticed they have upgraded to a full printed menu, which not only offers kebabs and sandwich, but also includes something called sangak pizza. “What the hell is that?” you might be asking. Well, it’s exactly what you might imagine it to be…
Ever since discovering the awesomeness of freshly cooked sangak, I’ve been kind of obsessed. Not to be confused with lavash, the flatbread used to make sandwich wraps in many Middle Eastern countries, sangak is the slightly puffy, slightly sour, surfboard size, Persian bread found at specialty bakeries like Naan Hut in West L.A. I couldn’t imagine a better Persian lunch than a koobideh kebab wrapped inside a fresh piece of sangak with roasted tomatoes. And then I saw the sour cherry rice from Javan Restaurant on this “Best Persian Food in L.A.” article on The Huffington Post. Sure, I’ve had sabzi polo- the green herbed basmati rice you’ll find at most Perisan restaurants. But sour cherry rice? This was new. And the best part is, that’s not even close to where the rice craziness ends at Javan.
There aren’t many things that are better than fresh baked bread, and it hardly gets fresher than sangak made from a real Persian bakery. Often referred to as “Iran’s national bread”, the first time I had sangak was at Attari Grill, where the small piece of flatbread came wrapped around a delicious koobideh kebab as part of lunch. But nothing can compare to seeing one of these four foot long surfboards of warm sour dough flatbread coming fresh out of a gigantic lazy susan’ish oven looking thing. There are no shortage of these bakeries in the valley (Asal Bakery in Woodland Hills is well worth the drive) but in the Midtown Lunch area between Downtown and Santa Monica? Not so much.
So I was super excited to hear that the (unfortunately named) Naan Hut, on Santa Monica Blvd in West L.A. had nothing to do with Indian bread… and was actually a real deal Persian sangak bakery, just like the places in the valley.
Big news in the world of Westwood Persian food! Attari Sandwich Shop, the (not so) hidden gem on Wilkins Ave. just off of Westwood Blvd., has opened up a sit down restaurant just to the right of their cozy courtyard. Attari has long been famous for their unique sandwiches (kuku, kotlets, or tongue anybody?) and delicious kebabs, but the two month old Attari Grill gives them a chance to showcase a more upscale menu- featuring a whole host of stews more similar to their incredibly popular ab goosht (which is only served on Fridays at the sandwich shop.)
And you know what the best part is? Despite a way pricier menu, the “Grill” has a bunch of lunch specials for under $10. Naturally, I had to try all of them.