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Restaurants & Bars 1

Dinner at Tempo

lil mikey | Mar 13, 200310:19 AM

I was reading a previous thread about falafels and Israeli food, and was reminded of Tempo. I had good memories, so I decided to try it again.

I arrived before my friend, and sat waiting at the bar. The problem was that while there were a number of people sitting there, and a number of servers and other help in the restaurant, there was no one tending the bar. I sat there with all the other people (women celebrating a birthday) wondering if it was a self-serve bar.

My friend finally arrived, we sat at a table and ordered a small dip combination plate and an appetizer combination plate.

The dip combination plate was not as I remembered it. The hummus and baba ghanoush, which I especially like, were in very small proportions. The other dips were a little more liberal but also scant, except for one that I had never tasted before. It resembled Mexican salsa without the tomato sauce. I didn’t particularly care for this one, but there was plenty of it. There were also falafels on this plate, which were quite good.

The appetizer combo plate had more falafels, stuffed grape leaves which were fresh and very good, Israeli cigars (meat wrapped in filo and fried), which were good dipped in the tahini sauce they supplied and various preparations of eggplant.

While there were many employees around, the service was very spotty. I noticed other tables that couldn’t get the attention of anyone. In fact one lady at a nearby table, after her male companion had been vigorously trying to flag down a server, finally got up, went into the kitchen and got her own plastic bag to take home her extra food.

So my overall opinion is “mixed.” The food was good, but not great. The service was indifferent and the guests seemed to be interfering with them rearranging the napkins and glasses. I probably won’t go out of my way to go back, but if I do go back, I will order the falafels, the Israeli cigars, the grape leaves, the hummus and the baba ghanoush. The rest of it just wasn’t exciting.

It’s on Ventura Boulevard in Encino, between Hayvenhurst and Balboa.

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