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Sunnin: I don't get it

Is this place really that good? I've been twice and have been less than impressed. First time had the combo kabob plate. Second time had the dish called " KEBBETH bil SAYNIYEH", which from their website is:

Two layers finely ground beef and burguk stuffed with
minced beef, onions, and pine nuts. Served with Hommos,
Rice, and Lebanese Salad

Well...both times the food has seemed average at best. Don't understand the hype for this place. I mean it was an interesting meal, but not all that good....

maybe I'm ordering wrong?

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  1. their falafal sandwich was a deal-breaker for me.
    the falafal had been cooked earlier and then reheated in the microwawe oven next to the fryer, making the falafal soft. they then wrapped the soggy falafal up in a huge cold piece of white pita with tahini and pickles, wrapped the whole thing in a piece of foil and put it on the grill to warm. this process made the bread turn into a sizable soggy mess wrapped around the soggy falafal balls.
    much prefer the falafal sandwich at hungry pocket where there isn't a microwave in the place and every falafal is made to order. the sandwich there is assembled by heating the bread on the grill first, inserting the fresh, hot, crisp, falafal balls into the warm bread along with lettuce and tomato (yes, i miss the pickles), and adding the tahini at the very last moment so that nothing becomes soggy.

    1. Agreed. Went to Sunnin once for their falafel plate. To me, the soggy reheated falafel balls tasted like they were made from a store-bought dry mix. The hummus and salad were average at best. Not completely horrible per se, but I found Sunnin to be little more than just another disappointing case of inexplicably overpraised mediocrity. I have never had the urge to return - and I live in the neighborhood.

      1. I love Sunnin - easily one of my favorite restaurants in the area.

        I order off of the appetizers and salads part of the menu rather than the entrees. I think all the ones I've tried are great - they taste fresh and delicious. I particularly like the labneh, hommos, foul, soujouk, tabouleh, well, pretty much everything.

        If you go with someone else, try ordering 4-5 of these. It's more than enough food. The mezza combo is also good and contains most of what I like.

        1. sunnin is fine for people that haven't tasted what mezze and arabic cooking are all about. Better than average but the average is so bad people think they now know what this food is supposed to taste like.

          it is mediocre, like most of the places. and people celebrate it.

          luckily in Glendale and in the Valley there are exceptions to this, unlike in most cities.

          1. Xericx, were you eating in the Belmont Shore location that has been there 2-3 years, or the original Westwood Blvd. location there for over 10 years?
            Same family ownership, yet different people within the family in charge, knowledge of food preparation, etc. might account for differences from one location to the other.

            1 Reply
            1. re: carter

              I've only been to the Belmont Shore location and they have been consistently terrific with food and poor with service. Hard to get in and out in an hour without ordering ahead.

              If you like Zankou, try Sunnin's chicken tawoosh sandwich. Garlicky goodness.

              1. We went once, and some things were ok, nothing incredibly memorable. However, I remember noting that Sunnin's garlic sauce did not nearly bowl me over and make me want to cover every last edible surface with it like Zankou's does.

                1. i like and recommend sunnin because it is quick, tasty and inexpensive. granted that i have not had truly authentic lebanese food but sunnin's ingredients are fresh and the kebabs are cooked to order.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wilafur

                    With tax and tip and a drink, a meal was $15. Not supercheap for a basic hole in the wall.

                    1. re: wilafur

                      fresh is debatable, btw. guess i just wish that people would serve the great food and then
                      you'd know what i'm referring to, why just about all these places for arabic food don't cut the mark. but luckily there is glendale and the valley.

                    2. no one said anything about sunnin being supercheap. it is inexpensive for me because i typically call in for a chicken or beef kebab to go. the dish runs me roughly $8.50 out the door which is not too shabby in my book.

                      1. I agree with KS in LA. The entrees DO NOT stand out... it's the MEZE (appetizers) that you have to go for. Tabbouleh that is 95% parsley instead of bulgur filler... great kibbeh, hummus, and a few others in filo that I can't remember the names.

                        Sunin = meze all the way

                        1. I also am on the I-don't-get-the-deal-with-Sunnin side. Having grown up with great Middle Eastern food all my life, Sunnin just doesn't measure up. I've been there twice and the mezze, it's true, were better than the entrees (it seems that in most Middle Eastern places, one is usually better than the other), but still very mediocre.

                          For mezze you're better off with Magic Carpet, Carnival or Carousel. For entrees, better off with Wahid's, Carnival or Carousel.

                          1. I've only been to the Long Beach location, and it's great. The kibbeh appetizer & falafel are awesome. But, the best thing there is the baklava... they have pistachio & cashew. Try it, you'll be hooked!