Around the corner from Cafe Stella and Intelligentsia, you'll miss it if you're not paying attention. It's a little house.
Inside is very homey, with a nice bar in front, tables on the side and a back patio with communal tables.
The menu is entirely Middle Eastern and the flavors are what you'd expect from this region.
My favorite was the smoked trout rillette. My only complaint was that it was served at the end of the meal, so we were already pretty full. But that says a lot about how good this dish was. I still loved it when I was full. Anyway, you get a smallish jar which is plenty for two or three people. And you get two thick slices of sourdough toast. On top are big black olives and some fresh dill. This is a delicious dish. Next time I'll ask for it to come first, though.
My next favorite was the babaganoush, which was very creamy like the consistency of hummus, but had the smokey flavor from the eggplant. It's served with grilled shishito peppers, which were a good spicy counterpunch to the smokey creaminess of the babaganoush. It's served with pita, but order more as they don't give you enough unless you want to eat it with a spoon.
The shishkatori are little kabobs, and we got an order of the beef merguez and an order of the chicken. The merguez was juicy and bursting with flavor from the meat itself, but also from the various spices and herbs. It's served with a little dollop of spicy harissa which complemented it well.
The chicken shishkatori was perfectly cooked (due in no small part to the fact that the meat is in small cubes, so it's easier to make it cook consistently). It had a nice grilled flavor, and it's served with a garlic sauce a'la Zankou, et. al.
My least favorite was the Jerusalem artichokes. The portioning is way off, as you get a bowl brimming over with brown cubes of the root. It's enough for six people, which doesn't really jibe with the notion of small dishes, particularly as this is essentially a side dish. And it's one-note in the flavor department. It was just too much of one thing.
For dessert, we had the rice pudding which is served warm, and had an essence of cardamom. On top was some preserved fruit as well as some stone fruit which was out of season, and a little firm. But the pudding itself was delightful.
They have a happy hour with selected wine for $4 or $5 per glass or $15 per bottle. This would be a great place to have a bottle of wine in the early evening on the back patio with friends.
4156 Santa Monica Bl, 1.5 blocks southwest of Sunset