Those of you who know me from the last few years on Chowhound know that when it comes to Lebanese, you may keep your Carousel, you may keep your Carnival, you may keep your Cedar House -- my love lies with Skaf's, a love affair started when I worked nearby and it was quite literally the only edible thing in walking distance. I used to go there four times a week (Friday was telecommute day, so...)
I once was craving Skaf's so bad that I flew down from my office in San Francisco, went to Skaf's, spent the night in the Valley, and flew back up in time for my first meeting the next morning.
Then I started working in a place that is really not very convenient to a Skaf's lunch, but was living nearby, so I'd go for dinner.
And then I moved to Anaheim.
Last week a former employee let me know that Skaf's had opened a new restaurant which was much, much more convenient to work than trying to deal with the hassle of the construction on Alameda, and so we went to try it.
The first thing you notice as you pass Two Guys From Italy -- the new Skaf's Grill has got parking. They share a building with other businesses (a pharmacy is one of them) but it's not got a lot of stores in it, and the parking is pretty easy (enter from Chevy Chase).
The second thing you notice -- New Skaf's has got decor. This was a huge shock. There was DECOR. The floor was nice. The seats all matched. The tables weren't formica. There was SPACE.
The second thing you notice -- service is a bit less casual. At O.G. Skaf's, half the time you stop at the counter to put in your order and then sit. At New Skaf's, it's table service all the way.
The menu's a bit bigger. They have hummus with beef and pine nuts now, and more salads, more desserts than just baklava, and... what the... FROG LEGS? Yes, that's right, you can have frog legs. Right there on the menu in front of God and the assembled. What they don't have yet is the specials -- they're apparently too busy for the specials as yet but they're coming.
The food's still really great. I really enjoyed my shish kebab -- they're one of the only places I know that will cook shish kebab to medium rare if you ask. Still gigantic portions -- while a shish kebab plate is $9.95, it comes with a dish (probably 4 ounces) of the best hummus in the world bar none full stop, a deep bowl of cabbage salad, a big pile of rice, a tomato, two pitas, and two skewers of very tasty steak.
It's totally a doable drive, and they have enough staff at the new place to keep tables turning quickly, so I intend to eat there quite often, since O.G. Skaf's is just a bit too far to drive on a normal lunch hour, eat, and return.
This is one of my "must go" restaurants -- if you don't think their hummus is so good you could lick the dish, then ignore any other Middle Eastern recommendations I make, because every place is compared to Skaf's.
Skaf's Grill (Original Gangsta Skaf's)
6008 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Skaf's Grill (New Fancy Skaf's)
367 N. Chevy Chase Dr.
Glendale, CA 91206