Vibrant Middle Eastern Cuisine By Way of Bestia - Bavel (Grand Opening) [Thoughts + Pics]


#81

Thanks! Great recs!

Glad you asked. I wanted to mention that Bavel - especially for first timers - is best in a group. We had to make some tough decisions. :sweat_smile: The prawns were scratched in favor of hubby’s beef cheeks. Even cutting things out we ended up taking food home. But the prawns are on the the top of my list for next time.


#82

Hi @TheCookie,

Yay! So glad you made it out to Bavel. :slight_smile: Wasn’t the Duck 'Nduja Hummus and the hot, fresh Handmade Pita delicious? :blush:

Thanks for the report on the Cauliflower, that’s one of the dishes we haven’t tried yet on the menu; but will have to try soon! :slight_smile: Even the Hawaij Chili Sauce looks gorgeous.

How was the Couscous itself? Hopefully OK.

Glad your Turmeric Chicken Confit Leg was perfectly cooked, but yah, it’s not as bold as Duck Confit (which I love). :wink:

Hopefully you get a chance to try their Aged Duck 3 Ways when it’s back on the menu (that Duck Confit is amazing and like the best one in the city right now). :slight_smile: And definitely more of the Mezze as you say. I think you’ll love the Baba Ghanoush with their Homemade Buckwheat Loaf (it is ridiculous).


#83

Could be hawayej.


#84

Thanks @Chowseeker1999!

Yah, the Cauliflower was delicious. Definitely order it if you can take some heat. The Couscous was very light and well cooked. We may be going back sooner than I thought (friend’s birthday). I’ll get a chance to try a few more dishes.

TBC…


#85

Ahhh… maybe that’s it. It had a really nice curry flavor.


#86

Hi @TheCookie,

For the heat, did you think it was more than Howlin’ Ray’s Level 3 (Medium)? Or was it more like Level 4 (which has a hint of Ghost Chili in there)? :sweat_smile:

Looking forward to your follow-up visit, and hope your friend’s birthday goes well at Bavel (don’t forget the Foie Gras Halva with Buckwheat Bread). :wink:


#87

So I visited recently and walked in without a reservation to sit at the bar. No issues. Bar staff were all great and helpful throughout and service couldn’t have been better.

I ordered just 2 small plates, as I was dining solo: Hummus with Duck Nduja and the Cucumber and Artichoke salad.

Having lived in the Middle East and searched for hummus equivalence here in the States, I must say the hummus at Bavel is still not up to par with my favorite joints on the other side of the world. But it is certainly one of the best efforts I have ever eaten here in the States. And the Duck Nduja is something completely unexpected and pleasantly surprising. The Duck addition to the Hummus makes it so much more than the classic Levantine dish I eat overseas. The spices have an almost Indian taste at first but they’re probably of North African influence now that I think about it. All that said, this is a must order and a great dish.

The pita bread is nothing like fresh baked pita I have ever had but that is not to say it isn’t ‘authentic.’ I simply haven’t had this super fluffy, thick, and luscious pita before. Great accompaniment to the hummus.

The salad was great and refreshing. It had a wonderful pistachio dukkah on top too and the perfect amount of dressing. I sopped up the bit of leftover dressing with some pita.

Needless to say, I must return with others to try some other small plates and a main or two!


#88

Nice! I eat out solo quite a bit so it is good to hear a review from a solo diner. Really cant wait to try it and that salad looks great


#89

I finally had the opportunity to check out Bavel and left pretty disappointed. While service was exceptional and the space is great, I left feeling many of the dishes we had are being done better by someone else in the city.

Their baba ganoush lacked the character and depth of a place like Marouch. The duck in their ‘nduja hummus was good but highlighted how non-special their actual hummus was. While the pita is very good, given all the praise, I was hoping for something revelatory like what you’d find at Shaya in New Orleans. The purple lettuce salad was tasty but wasn’t anything to write home about and their lamb neck shawarma wasn’t remarkable in the slightest (outside of the excellent green hot sauce it’s served with).

Kudos to their somm. He was fantastic and his selections were really on point. It’s a great Mediterranean wine list.

Maybe we just got caught them on an off night. Then again, I’m 1 for 3 visits in terms of really enjoying Bestia and thinking it warrants the money, hype and hassle, so maybe I just don’t click with the group’s vision.

For those interested, there were at least 6 open bar seats at 5:45 on a Thursday.


#90

Hi @DoubleThinker,

Thanks for the report back and glad you liked the visit. :slight_smile: It’s great to hear the perspective of someone who’s eaten at authentic places in the Middle East and can offer some comparison, good to know. Hopefully you get to try more of the menu soon.


#91

Hi @Helper_Monkey,

Bummer! Thanks for reporting back. Was the handmade pita you got not piping hot and fluffy? Just curious if it might’ve sat around a bit (like they made a batch of them)? I haven’t been to Shaya in New Orleans, but I saw the TV episode that featured his cooking and it looked wonderful. (Then again as you may have heard, Shaya has lost its executive chef and he’s moving on.)

At least for L.A. and what I’ve tried I thought the handmade pitas at Bavel were amazing and the best we’ve had in the city (they’ve arrived piping hot, fluffy, airy every single time we’ve been there, fresh out of the oven).


#92

@Helper_Monkey:

I think that I agree with you with regards to the hummus on its own. I believe that I can make something comparable in my own kitchen. But when combined with the duck, I think it makes a unique and spectacular dish overall. I’m not sure if I could go back to the hummus dish on its own now that I’ve tried the duck version.

I need to try Shaya in New Orleans. I’ve heard only good things about it. Maybe that’s where my quest for ultimate hummus will end! :stuck_out_tongue:

@Chowseeker1999:

Yeah I think overall, Bavel is kind of like what the group did at Bestia (though I have not been to the latter restaurant). Bavel is Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean food through the lens of Californian and Cal-Italian fare. Anyone who goes here expecting the strict, classical food of the Middle East may be disappointed with some dishes; however, those who are in it for something new and enjoyable will be in for a treat.


#93

Thanks @Chowseeker1999. Me too!


#94

Good insights @DoubleThinker -

Yep… I haven’t been to the other side of the world but there are also tastier versions locally. Bavel’s had the textured creaminess but the lemon, garlic and tahini nuttiness were almost not there. I was thinking this was on purpose to let the spices in the Nduja shine. My go to for Hummus is Sunnin on Westwood Blvd. But I still think Bavel’s dish as a whole was fantastic.

Okay thank you! This!

Looking forward to our next visit!


#95

There it is again. I agree. But I do think we need to get away from exactly how everything is supposed to be. That Pita may have been slightly fluffier and doughy than traditional, but it was great, as confirmed by other side of the world liver @DoubleThinker. A little tip: It’s even better the next day. The doughy-ness dries up a bit.

I always like your opinions @Helper_Monkey. Thanks for sharing!


#96

It was indeed hot and fluffy. Definitely fresh out of the oven. I enjoyed it, just not as much as I was hoping to. Likely had a lot to do with us not finding the hummus or baba to be all that transcendent.

Hadn’t heard about the exec chef leaving Shaya. :frowning_face:Hopefully it remains as exquisite as it was!


#97

The hummus without the duck has much more tahini and is unlike the hummus paired with the nduja.


#98

Going tonight 8:45 w 3 friends… second time going but went solo last time woooo


#99

Nice @skramzlife. Please let us know how your dinner turns out. :slight_smile:


#100

This is critical info. Can. Not. Wait. To try this hummus.