Thursday, April 13, 2006

Zankou Chicken

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.

Zankou Chicken
5065 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027
(323) 665-7842
10AM - midnight


Jeni said...

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE Zankou's!!! MMM...the garlic sauce is so addicting. It's just too sexy!

I go to the Van Nuys joint. I find it A LOT better than the W LA spot. My chickens from W LA need to be cooked longer...they usually are too light skin-ded.

Colleen Cuisine said...

That garlic sauce is CRAZY DELICIOUS!

Good to know about the West LA spot. That location is actually closer to me, but I always go to Sunset/Normandie... old habits die hard, I guess.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Colleenuisine, Zankou's is great. They just opened up a location in the West LA, and although I know it's a franchise, it feels too "franchisey". Meaning the store looks brand new and CLEAN. I think I like the hole-in-the-wall version in Pasadena much better. Does that sound weird? It just feels like it 'tastes' better haha.

word verification: dodzzbay. Actually sounds like it could be a word or like pig latin.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

I agree- I love me some Zankou garlic sauce! When oh when are they going to bottle that stuff already?! I'd slather it on everything.

Brian Gage said...

Zanku is the double-royal-fudge-brownie-chocolate-cheesecake of food. I love it, but can only eat one spoonful every 6-8 months for my quota.

Foodie Universe said...

Another Zankou fan here. I've been to the West LA spot, and didn't notice anything wrong with it. In addition to the obvious, I love the pickled beets that come with every order.

Naama said...

Stumbled upon your blog (as am about to move to LA), and as a Middle Eastern girl had to weigh in: the pickled beets someone commented on are actually pickled turnips (but yes, pickled in beet juice!). And your sesame garlic sauce is called tahini, and is actually an ingredient in most hummus.

It's also real easy to make, if you're a fan.

Peter said...
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