I kept seeing the sign in the back. It’s written in Russian, and there is no English translation. In the middle is a picture of a bowl of soup, so I knew there was food in there.
I decided to stop for lunch.
In fact, the patio with the Russian sign is not the restaurant. You enter the restaurant from Santa Monica Blvd., right across from the 101 offramp.
There are only 5 tables in there, and the chairs are heavy welded brushed steel. The silverware and plates are not the kind you typically find in restaurants. They’re styled, not mass produced.
The proprietor is a young man of about 40, and he is very accommodating. I could see in the back that they are making kabobs.
The menu is Russian, Armenian and Middle Eastern. There are lots of side dishes and salads like hummus, mutabbal, tabuleh, Greek salad, Armenian salad, Stolichniy salad, etc. There are also Borsh and Khash soups.
The main courses are a variety of kabobs with chicken, pork, filet mignon, and lamb. There are also various ribs and chops and beef stroganov. And there are fish dishes like serjn (sturgeon), salmon and trout.
I ordered the filet mignon kabob with sides of tabule and mutabbal.
While I waited, a group of very sweet older Russian women came in. They only spoke Russian the whole time (and the proprietor spoke Russian back to them), and it lent a sense of authenticity to the whole experience.
When the food came out, it was presented on a large silver platter. There was a LOT of meat (I couldn’t finish it), and it was seasoned with black pepper. It was very tender, and had a nice browning from the fire. The tabuleh was tasty, with a little mint chopped in to give it some depth. The mutabbal wasn’t smoky-flavored as I’ve had it before. Instead, it was tangy, like a yogurt sauce. It was delicious.
The meat was also served with a red pepper sauce that complemented it perfectly. And there was a huge pile of rice. Alongside were 3 large pieces of lavash, which I also couldn’t finish.
This was a huge meal, and it was VERY fresh tasting. I think I like this place better than Marouch. The guy says “don’t be fooled by the size, we prepare about 1,600 meals a week for our catering business. The catering business is about 85%, the restaurant is only 15%. They also have a restaurant in Valley Glen, on Vanowen.
The meal, including bottled water was $15 with tax, a total bargain I think. I will be back again and again.
5341 Santa Monica Blvd (right across the street from the NB 101 exit)