If a mere two syllables could start me salivating, those syllables would have to be: Zan. Kou. I love Zankou Chicken. LOVE it. And yet I only go about once a year... why? Not sure. All I know is that while Zankou is always delicious, it is sometimes... dangerous. It's the triple fudge chocolate cheesecake of chicken. Or something like that.
Zankou Chicken has six locations in the greater L.A. area, including the original (the one I always visit) on Sunset and Normandie. It's a hole-in-the-wall type of place with some amazing wood paneling and orange formica tables that only add to its charm.
Zankou serves a variety of Middle Eastern dishes, including shawerma, tarna, falafel, hummus, mutabbal, and others. The meat is out of this world - they roast it on a giant spit right behind the cash registers.
I think the plates are the best choice, because you get a little bit of everything, and it's all cut up and ready to eat. The whole chicken is good too, but when you are starving (and when you smell it, you will be), you may not want to deal with carving up the entire bird.
Here's the chicken tarna plate, which includes fire-roasted chicken, hummus, sesame sauce, garlic sauce and pita.
The shish kebab plate, with piles of charbroiled steak, hummus, peppers, and pita.
While the meat is fantastic on its own, it's the accoutrements that take everything to a new level. Tear off a corner of soft, fluffy pita, load on a kebab, douse it in hummus, and dig in. Juicy, garlicy, succulent... there aren't enough adjectives to do this place justice.
The chicken plate comes with two additional sauces: a sesame-garlic sauce, which tastes a bit like the hummus, but saucy-er...
And Zankou's famous, unbelievably rich garlic sauce. I have no idea what is in this, but it's super garlicy, super fluffy, buttery and sublime. Outrageously good.
I haven't been to the other Zankou locations, so I don't know how they stack up, but I do know that some dishes (kebabs and soujouk, for example), are only available at the Hollywood location. Go when you are hungry, bring a friend who doesn't mind garlic breath, and be prepared to take a heck of a lot of leftovers home.
5065 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027
10AM - midnight