I just knew you would get the FTC scoop! Thanks for the report. My reso is in a week.
Hope you enjoy your meal! Definitely get one of the spreads (with their Housemade Pitas included) to start.
Malawach is interesting to me since it’s made from the Middle East and North Africa to India (Malabar paratha) to Singapore (roti prata / roti canai). I figure it started in India and went east and west, but who knows?
Honestly is it the best damn hummus you ever had?
Talk to me about less hamster.
Great report as usual, @Chowseeker1999
The saffron couscous looks impressive! Making couscous is a laborious process, but once you’ve eaten it, you’ll never want to go back to the boxed stuff.
It’s really darn good. Right now, yes, it probably is. But I’m not an expert on this stuff. I’ve made some from scratch at home (and I’m not a great home cook), but I do know when the Hummus is made with great ingredients, you can really taste it in each bite. Hope you like your visit.
Thanks @foodshutterbug! I’ve never tried making Couscous from scratch, but I appreciate it even more after trying Chef Ori’s version; it was amazing.
The restaurant sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to try it, but I did cringe when I saw Strawberry Zhoug on the menu. Zhoug is one of my favorite things in the world and they had to go ruin it with strawberries. To me, that’s the equivalent of putting a little strawberry jam on your sushi. It’s just wrong.
They’re not trying to just do a facsimile of something that already exists. Seems like whether it “ruins it” depends on how it tastes.
Nice report. To be honest I’m a little disappointed by how the food looks–I was hoping for a more rustic approach. The food actually looks a lot like Kismet, a place of which I am not a particularly big fan. The pita and hummus looks pretty good, but not as good as say, Dizengoff.
The food was so intriguing that we couldn’t wait to go back for a return visit!
Chef Ori Menashe was on the line cooking and preparing dishes again (which is great to see vs. some places where the executive chef stops cooking).
It was also neat seeing Phil Rosenthal (of “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” and “Somebody Feed Phil” fame) enjoying his meal as well. He had the same huge smile and stunned facial expressions in real life that you see on the TV show.
The central hearth / fire was so intense we could feel it from the middle of the restaurant.
Foie Gras Halva (Creamy Paté, Date Paste, Black Sesame, Buckwheat Loaf):
We fell in love with their Duck 'Nduja Hummus during our 1st visit (I was still dreaming about it even during this 2nd visit!). But we wanted to try something new as well. The Foie Gras Halva is slightly thicker than the Hummus, but still very creamy. There’s a delicate balance of the sexy, luxurious Foie Gras combined in this spread.
The Date Paste adds a perfect amount of slight sweetness, and the Black Sesame Seeds gives it an aromatic nuttiness. It’s delicious!
However, like the Duck 'Ndjuja Hummus, it’s the Bread/Pita that elevates it to another level, and with this dish, it’s Chef Ori’s Handmade Buckwheat Loaf:
Buckwheat Breads usually are quite hearty and can be on the dense side. Not so here:
It arrives piping hot, nutty, with a real Buckwheat aroma coming through, with a gorgeous toasted exterior and crunch, with an inside that is like eating a cloud, it’s so soft it’s like a “Custard” in Bread form! It is INCREDIBLE!
I have great respect for local Bread makers like Bub and Grandma’s, Clark Street and Gjusta, but this fresh-baked Handmade Buckwheat Loaf was even better!
Cucumber & Artichoke (Mache, Orange Blossom, Pickled Rose Onion, Green Garlic & Pistachio Dukkah):
This was a new menu item that was just added (it wasn’t on their Grand Opening menu). The Cucumber & Artichoke Salad was incredible! The Cucumbers, Celery were so refreshing and bright, the shaved Artichokes added this vibrant, light herbal note, and the Orange Blossom and Rosewater Dressing added a beautiful floral backnote without overpowering your palate… it was just a hint of flowers. I loved this Salad!
Confit Turmeric Chicken Legs (Yemenite Pancake, Fennel Salad, Black Sesame, Marjoram):
This sounded rather simple, but the short description belies the glory that is Chef Ori’s Confit Turmeric Chicken Legs: Imagine crisped Chicken giving way to this luscious long stewed, tender, fall-off-the-bone Chicken underneath (Confit style)! Just look at this:
Taking a bite…
Seriously. Seriously?! This was the most ridiculously delicious Chicken dish we’ve had since Howlin’ Ray’s (in a totally different way)!
Even the Chicken Cartilage was cooked down to super tender consistency. This was like the best Duck Confit dish I’ve ever had, except it’s made with Chicken.
The Fennel Salad was refreshing and sufficiently bold and bright to stand up to the Chicken.
I loved the Yemenite Pancake which felt like a super-thin version of Ethiopian Injera Bread. Chef Ori encouraged us to rip a piece of the Yemenite Pancake, and then grab some of the wonderful Confit Turmeric Chicken meat and enjoy it that way.
Slow Roasted Lamb Neck Shawarma (Crème Fraiche Tahini, Fermented Cabbage, Pickled Turnips, Laffa):
Their Lamb Neck Shawarma is definitely nothing like the usual “Shawarma” plates you might’ve had around L.A. It starts with the slow-roasted, hefty chunks of Lamb Neck.
It’s spoon tender(!), so tender, lightly gamy, and absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious by itself!
But then you add it on top of Chef Ori’s Housemade Laffa Bread:
And add in some of the Housemade Tahini:
Then some of the amazing condiments - Pickled Cabbage, Pickled Turnips, and an amazing Habanero & Pickled Mango Sauce:
And you have JOY!
Seriously, this is the most amazing “Shawarma” dish I have ever had in my life! Luscious, tender fatty & lean morsels of Slow-Roasted Lamb, fantastic Laffa Bread, delicious nutty Tahini, and the light piquant funk from the Pickled Cabbage, Pickled Turnips and that Green Sauce of Awesome. SO GOOD!
It’s just utterly stupid how great this food is!
Licorice Ice Cream Bon Bon (Sour Licorice Caramel, Muscovado Cake, Caramelized White Chocolate, Maldon):
This sounded… wild on paper, but we were so glad we ordered it! Bavel delivers one of the most creative uses of Licorice that I’ve experienced in a Dessert. It has the distinctive Licorice flavor, but it never overpowers this Bon Bon: It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s chilled, refreshing and the touch of tart and Maldon Salt just enhances the beautiful delicate sweetness. Wonderful!
Service was very good again, our drinks refilled, our plates swapped out between courses. And for a price comparison, now that we know that their Cocktails aren’t worth ordering (and dropping the Lamb Saddle), today our meal turned out to be about $70 / person.
While we’ve only been to Bavel twice, from the stunning, creamy, smooth and gorgeous Duck 'Nduja Hummus with even greater Fresh Baked Pita Clouds, to the Confit Okra that tastes nothing like Okra you’ve had before, to the Beef Cheeks Tagine, Foie Gras Halva with some of the best Fresh Baked Buckwheat Bread I’ve ever had in my life (piping hot!), to the Confit Turmeric Chicken Legs and the amazing Slow Roasted Lamb Neck Shawarma and glorious condiments with the Laffa Bread, Bavel has surpassed Bestia.
I am already planning on when we can return again (and drag some friends with us). Bavel is one of the most exciting and interesting restaurants we have in L.A. right now.
500 Mateo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tel: (213) 232-4966
Everyone here is, of course, free to say what they want - and no offense to you @Haeldaur - but this just strikes me as a baseless, unnecessarily derogatory, comment. You haven’t tried Bavel’s pita or hummus but you take a shot at them because they don’t “look” as good as Dizengoff? Pita and hummus don’t compete in beauty contests, it’s (mostly) all about taste (and smell) I say. Perhaps one can judge a tiny bit about a pita by the looks of the thing (girth and the amount of charcoal marks, I guess) but I submit that the world finest and foulest hummi sitting next to each other are likely to look exactly the same (of course, that is minus the maggots crawling out of the fouler paste).
Sorry, I don’t mean to censor you at all…just pointing this out.
Are there walk-in seats available FCFS?
I hear you, but just like pictures are indicative of a great neopolitan pizza crust, a well made loaf of bread, a properly cooked steak, and many other things, they also are perfectly valid indicators of pita and hummus. Go to Tartine’s instagram, look at pictures of the loaves, and tell me you can tell absolutely nothing about them relative to ones you buy from Ralph’s based on pictures alone.
As between pictures and a third party’s opinion on how the food tasted, the pictures are just as good of an indicator—if anything they are a more reliable, objective indicator. The pictures in the second post look a lot better, an indicator that like many restaurants this one will find its legs and improve a lot over the first few weeks.
I spent the last two years in NYC and frequented Dizengoff there. Going to Bavel tonight, will report back on the hummus and pita!
Yes, they have seats at the bar area for walk-ins. I hope you enjoy your visit.
Can’t argue with you there, thats a really good point!
Ughhhh they ran out of the hummus so we ain’t gonna get that Dizengoff comparison tonight.
Word of warning: they run out of everything so the 930 slot is a bummer