The Glendale location is a little hard to find, despite its commanding corner location on Chevy Chase and Verdugo, if you're coming from the wrong direction. The interior is stone-tiled floor and crisp modern walls. It looks like it's order-at-the-counter, but you're smiled at and told to sit. Right away you've got a good feeling, with a basket of warm, powdery pita and a bowl of possibly the best, most perfectly-consistencied* hommos in Glendale.
Order the kibbeh balls: at least one for you, one for anyone else at your table, and one for whoever's nearby if you're feeling gracious. Chopped beef, onions, pine nuts, fried into a lemon-shaped shell of burghul that needs no dipping sauce. Say wow. Realize your newfound addiction and continue.
The cabbage salad is a nice start for your lunch, loudly peppered with herbs in a vigorous dressing. That or the lentil soup with swiss chard. Check.
I'm eyeing the maanek (Sautéed Lebanese sausage) and shish tawook (garlic-marinated, skewered chicken breast) for next time, but for my first visit I try the Chicken Shawarma. Shaved off the vertical broiler, with seasoned onion slices, rice, tahineh seed paste and yogurt sauce, it's just really good chicken with no pretense.
Baklawa? There's no room for baklawa.
As I try not to appear too rude in my wolfing-down of the chicken shawarma, I pause to take sips of my Lebanese coffee, its steam roiling from its brass rakweh. Quite strong but not buzzy like Cuban coffee, it's more a force of personality. It's coffee with charisma, and Skaf's does it carefully and well, leaving the bottoms of the brass pot and my cup painted with black sediment.
I am typing right after lunch. That is my explanation for my choppy, blissed-out sentence structure, and I'm sticking to it. Maybe it's the coffee, but I think it's the kibbeh balls.
There's a decent parking lot in back. The North Hollywood location is the original, so it's a good candidate for stopping by on my way to Thursday class.
* I just made that a past-tense verb.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, Lebanese )
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