Thanks to Shatkin’s piece, Kabab Mahaleh revealed itself to be a fantastic bargain of an ethnic bite along the Kosher Korridor.
But before going on and on about the foods, a few things on the Persian Jews
of Los Angeles of Beverly Hills: They don’t visit Yelp.com much. Kakab Mahaleh has been open for a few months, and there are 2 whopping reviews. Chef Hung’s been open roughly the same amount of time, and BAM! 80+ yelp entries. Is it because the local Persians don’t believe in social media? Possibly. Is it because they don’t care about food as much as crazy Taiwanese beef noodle soup chasers? Doubtful. Or is it because they’re simply too busy seeking millions in corporate real estate loans for their next hotel project? Most probably.
Another tidbit: Yom Kippur is a day to pickup a nubile Persian Jewish girl, but only at a temple lobby. So you’re hungry as heck, probably not wearing your finest sneaks, probably a little rancid in the underarm, and not suppose to be thinking about laying it into your synagogue neighbor, but all the girls are rocking skimpy outfit cuz they’re all going to Cleo after prayer. It’s like the worst JDATE personified? To add fuel, there are overbearing matchmakers… What’s oy vey in Farsi? But better than the report on the Yom Kippur dating phenomenon is this W piece on Sam Nazarian, the Persian LA loves to hate:
(photo yanked from W Magazine)
Is that a pig statue in the middle of a wading pool, on the roof top of SLS Hotel? Clearly the Bazaar is the not the only wack job on that property. Is one of the girls wearing leopard print spandex? How does one reincarnate as a Persian in Beverly Hills? If an Armenian is the prince on the Mercedes horse, what is the Persian ride of choice? After all, only 300 Veyrons were ever sold. So many questions…
Back to the food. The Persian influence on Jewish cuisine is undeniable. Fresh fruits and kabebs trump matzo every day. Let’s not get started on the contempt everyone should show for pierogies. * YAKKKKK *
Here at Kabab Mahaleh, the menu is simple: seasoned grilled meat, bread, salad, a fridge of soda. The end. The LA Weekly piece explained every bit of the food, so the koobideh was inevitable. And damn tasty. An appropriate chunk of sangak comes with the koobideh platter, as did a few roasted tomatoes along with a bundle of fresh herbs. Dare I say this? The food channeled Vietnamese cuisine, save for the kippot and Farsi. The koobideh was very unsophisticated, much like Korean BBQ; even salt and pepper had to be self dispensed. Yet the formed ground cow tasted nothing like harsh and brash hamburgers to which it showed clear relations. The meats were spiced but not spicy, juicy but not bloody. You may eat it with a fork, you may form mini kebab wraps. The variations are limited, but it’s so hearty and simple, doesn’t involve the typical Romance countries, and brings together various ethnic Jews (of gapping social-economic classes) to worship the same quick, affordable food.
Total damage? $6, which would not afford one half of a Santa Barbara prawn at another restaurant down the street. Forewarning: they’re closed on Saturday, and closed early for Friday, which means a person actually fasting would… uhmm… not be able to eat this before sunset today. Sorry.
8762 W Pico Blvd
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