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Release my inner vampire: Craving for garlic (not Zankou)

I am craving garlic and I've had zankou already three times this week. Where do I go now? I'm thinking maybe Korean or Cuban or? Thanks!

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  1. Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant at 50 N. La Cienega in Los Angeles. Every dish is a garlic dish. The signature dish is the 40-clove garlic chicken. Also try the appetizer. I forgot the name, but you get a basket of bread with a hot pan of roasted garlic. Finally, end the meal with garlic ice cream. I know some people may find this disgusting sounding, but the garlic flavor actually accentuates the vanilla ice cream, which is topped with a caramel sauce. A few seconds after the vanilla ice cream melts on your tongue, you taste the garlic. It's a fun restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pamela

      The only thing that's 'good' at Stinking Rose is the Bagna Calda (the appetizer described above). Everything else is a horrific mess and a poor excuse for food.

      1. re: The Oracle

        Rats. It sounds like the food at Stinking Rose went downhill then. I haven't been in a while, but I've eaten at the Stinking Rose at least a dozen times. The first 10-11 times, I always ordered the 40-clove garlic chicken and the Bagna Calda. Then I ordered the halibut, which didn't have that much garlic in it. Never had bad food here, although one time they did not have the garlic ice cream. I still think it's a fun place to take out-of-towners and people unaquainted with a themed restaurant.

    2. Cuban: Lemon Garlic Chicken at Havana Mania in Redondo Beach. www.havanamania.com. Or go for roast pig on Tuesday. Lot's of garlic in that. I think it is much better than Versailles.

      The next thing that comes to mind is the garlic dip at Alejo's Presto Tratoria in Playa Del Rey. Not quite the same since the owner passed a few years back but the garlic dip and bread is still wonderful and will leave it coming from your skin the next day.

      1. i suggest a nice steak at maestro's with the garlic/blue cheese/olive oil sauce on the side

        1. Gather up five or six of your best friends and head over to NBC Seafood (404 S Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, (626) 282-2323) for a live king crab with garlic sauce. Unbelievably good, and possibly the best use of garlic I have ever experienced. See: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          4 Replies
          1. re: David Kahn

            Along these lines, many Chinese seafood places have a house special crab with fried minced garlic, maybe SEAFOOD VILLAGE is the best known.

            1. re: babalu

              Concur on the SEAFOOD VILLAGE rec.

              As to NBC, it's stir-fried garlic crab really pales in comparison to Seafood Village's rendition. Sort of like an American cheese slice versus a hand-crafted mozarella ball, less depth and character.

              1. re: babalu

                And further along these lines, I always like to test various Chinese restaurants' renditions of eggplant stir fried with garlic. When it's executed well its pungent and the eggplant is cut in to "sticks" that come to the table practically molten in temperature and creaminess.

                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  This reminds me that the Japanese Cafe on first street, Suehiro, makes a stir fried eggplant dish with garlic that is great.

            2. How about Versaille for their version of Cuban Garlic Chicken. Good Plantains too ;-)

              1. At Sunnin on Westwood Blvd, the Chicken Kebob platter comes with a HUGE serving of that white garlic sauce that's very similar to Zankou's, but it's a much more generous helping!

                  1. I would avoid Versailles and their mangled attempt at Cuban cuisine. In fact, I would avoid Cuban altogether in your garlic quest. There is a healthy, vibrant Korean community in LA with tremendous quality and variety in food here. There is a relatively tiny Cuban community with no definitive Cuban restaurant that I would recommend without several qualifications and reservations.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: oro3030

                      Versailles is fine for pork or chicken if you want a lot of food and aren't looking for something with complicated flavors. I won't pan it because it's fine for what it is: it's not overcooked, it's a big portion, it's cheap, and it comes with a few sides. But is it particularly garlicky? No.

                      1. re: Pei

                        That's a sad, but accurate assesment and thus I am not sure why people constantly recommend it on this board (even if you won't pan it). Their chicken and pork are IMO a really lazy and poor attempt at the traditional Cuban version. Plus whatever citrus-like substance they use in their mojo tastes rancid to me (I realize that the sour oranges that are traditional are hard to find in LA).

                        1. re: oro3030

                          True. I remembered after I turned off the computer that while it isn't BAD chicken or BAD pork, it's not really Cuban either. It just tastes like generic meat: salt, pepper, roast, tada. Filling and inoffensive, but lacking in character. Not really Cuban. I enjoyed my meal there because I was starving, but I wouldn't take someone there with the intent of showing them what Cuban food is all about.

                          1. re: Pei

                            Well said. I have a particular bone to pick because I am from Miami and have Cuban relatives and grew up with the food. Not to mention that there is a famous Miami Cuban restaurant called Versailles which has no relation to the ones here.

                    2. I know you've had Zankou, but when I've been craving garlic I've bought the big tub of Zankou garlic sauce and put it on everything else -- sandwiches, pork chops, steak, toast -- you name it.

                      1. I you are near Newport Beach then give Garlic Jo's a try. It is a Japanese restaurants take on American cuisine and everything on the menu has garlic.

                        1. Try SinBaLa in Arcadia.

                          Order up some Taiwanese sausages and ask for a plate of raw, peeled garlic cloves - the bitter, biting rawness of the garlic is the perfect contrast to the sweet savoriness of the pork links.

                          Or, if you're like me (or just need to watch your HDL levels), get a plate of raw garlics and request some hoisin sauce. Take said garlic, dip in hoisin sauce, insert in mouth, wash down with a chopstick serving of rice. Repeat.

                          1. I love garlic too, but agreed that the Stinking Rose is way too overpowering (yes, even amongst garlicphiles there is a point of TOO much).

                            If you're in the Woodland Hills area, Gorikee ( http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof... ) is a more sensible option for garlicky foods--the roasted garlic with olive oil is a must-have (spreads like butter on baguettes), and they have a fair amount of non-garlic options too for your more vampiric companions ;)

                            1. Several years ago I vaguely recall a thing in which a number of restaurants served up entire heads of roasted (?) garlic that you squeezed from the cloves and you spread on toast or some such. I seem to remember Bistro 45 (Pasadena) among others doing this. The trend has passed, but I wonder if some place is still doing it. There's always a trip to Gilroy.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mc michael

                                Actually it is still dones. In Stinking Rose for above, but I had a horrid dinner there. And also do it at Porter House Bistro (I think in their prix fixe dinner) on Wilshire near Roberston...

                                Personally though, I would go with the Korean town rec... I love their little boats of Garlic Cloves in soy sauce that just simmer on the grill... SOOO good...

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: Dommy

                                  Second Koreatown idea. Even a place like Chosun Galbee. Don't put the garlic on the grill. Grill your meat--the bacon fat is not a bad idea--and then just wrap it around a raw clove.
                                  You will pay in the morning. Your lover will not love you. But you will love you.

                              2. Haven't been in ages, but I used to go to Vittorio Ristorante in Pacific Palisades when I wanted Italian that went extra heavy on the garlic.

                                Anyone been recently?

                                1. The roast chicken at Versailles left me tasting garlic for days.

                                  1. DO NOT GO BACK TO ZANKOU.... I HAD THE WORST WORST!! MEAL THERE AND I KNOW EVERYONE SWEARS BY IT, BUT I WILL NEVER TRY AGAIN. IT WASNT EVEN MEDIOCRE... FALAFELS AND SHWARMA WERE SO SOGGY AND TASTED LIKE AN ARMPIT. SORRY!

                                    1. Speaking of garlic, consider making a pilgrimage to the Gilroy Garlic Festival this August. It's worth it for the sheer foodie absurdity of it all, and for the GARLIC ICE CREAM!

                                      1. Gardel's on Melrose near Fairfax uses a fair amount of garlic and, as I recall, offers the roasted head as an appetizer to spread on bread.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: New Trial

                                          Don't forget their fries. From their menu description:
                                          "Papas Fritas Provenzal $ 6
                                          Our Signature Dish: French fries with Garlic and Parsley"
                                          Very tasty and garlicky.

                                          Carlitos Gardel
                                          7963 Melrose Ave
                                          Los Angeles, Ca 90046
                                          Tel: (323) 655-0891
                                          http://www.carlitosgardel.com/