You’d think with the large population of Lebanese-Armenians in Pasadena a person could get a good falafel. Not so easy. Where it is true there are many roasted chicken places that are very good, great kebabs, falafel and hummus have remained elusive. Until now.
I recently had lunch at the Lebanese Kitchen on Washington Boulevard, and I saw the light (or was that babaghanouj?). Run mainly by sister and brother, Violett and Tony Labbad (with some help from dad) it is a place where the food is great, the prices reasonable and the wait staff friendly, (that’s because it’s Violett and Tony).
The Meza Delight, a sampler of hummus, babaghaouj, falafel, sarma, djadjikh, and tabbouleh was served with plenty of pita bread for dipping. And dip I did. Into the smoky-silken babaghaouj (grilled eggplant, ground mixed with spices and drizzled with olive oil). This was hands-down the best babaghaouj I’ve ever tasted.
Hummus (ground garbanzo beans, tahini sauce, and spices) smooth, lightly spiced and delicious went well with the falafel (deep-fried ground garbanzo beans and spices). Stuffed grape leaves (sarma) filled with rice were tangy with vinegar and the tabbouleh (salad parsley, tomato, onions, cracked wheat and lemon juice) was fresh and light. Cucumber yogurt sauce (djadjikh), with a hint of mint, also accommodated the falafel wonderfully.
Violett told me that all of the ingredients are fresh, down to the garbanzo beans which her dad cooks every day-nothing out of a can. Even the ground beef is ground fresh on the promises. These points, while seeming minor really do make a difference in the final product.
An assortment of kebabs (chicken, lule (ground beef), lamb and beef) was served with a generous helping of rice. I absolutely loved the lule kebab; it had a bit of heat and a lot of flavor. The chicken was breast of chicken, not dry and well seasoned. Both the lamb and the beef were tender and grilled to perfection.
The Lebanese Kitchen is located at 1384 Washington Boulevard, Pasadena. Their hours are Monday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am – 8:30 pm and they are closed on Sunday. They cater and serve take-out. For more information call (626) 296-9010.
Featured Image: Lebanese Kitchen