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Zankou today: dry, bland chicken

I used to love Zankou. I lived off the tarna and shawerma plates. The falafel, while certainly not the best in town have been passable. And there was always the chicken and hummus - fine stand bys. Today I had the 1/4 white plate and it was just not that great. I havent had Zankou in about 6 months and I was really looking forward to it - what a let down. The skin was great but the meat was dry and flavorless. I needed every bit of the garlic paste to get through it. If I have the option now - Ill go over to Caroussel on Hollywood blvd.

PS - anyone been to Neo Mezze in Pasadena? Going there this Saturday for "jeffro's bday blowout" and wanted to know what are the must eats . . .

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  1. Same thing happened to me the other week. My sister was in town and I had been telling her for a while how good Zankou is. A bunch of us got half chicken plates and the chicken was totally dry and the wing was inedible. But then again every time I talk up a place to someone coming from out of town the meal ends up being crappy. I have that power I guess.

    1. Which one did you go to? I've had varying experiences and was just wondering if it was the same as other people.

      1. I went to the Burbank one for the first time a few months ago. I felt that the chicken was dry and salty. I much prefer CA Chicken Cafe, so I won't be back to Zankou.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WHills

          I'm in Burbank for training and just got back from the Burbank one. I damn near inhaled my tarna plate (it's neater than doing the chicken myself), minus the pickles and half the hummus and tahini. It was as juicy as I've ever had. The downsides of Burbank were the slightly higher prices and the complete absence of non pre-packaged garlic paste. I went to the one on Sunset last month and they gave me both pre-packaged and fresh. I also noticed the workers at Burbank were nicer than those in Pasadena or Sunset...which actually was kind of disappointing.

          I haven't had the straight chicken in a while, but I still enjoy the tarna.

        2. I also went today - Glendale location. I have to agree the chicken was a little more dried out than usual and the skin more limp. Not sure what changed, but it seems that something did. Maybe they keep it on the rotisseries longer when sales are down. The garlic "sauce" is now in sealed containers, though it is the same as always. The accompaniments are still great - mutabal (roasted eggplant), hummus (ground chick peas), and now tabouli, which I don't remember in the past.

          1. Was the chicken at Zankou ever really great? I love it, but it has always been about the garlic sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MrShoop

              The chicken at Zankou definitely was great. We used to bring out of town guests to marvel at the crisp flavorful skin and the meltingly tender savory meat. Lots of salt on the skin didn't hurt, I guess.
              There was one memorable time when we were invited to a dinner at a French gourmand's home along with 4 other couples and asked to bring an "appropriate dish". Talk about threatening. In desperation we bought two whole Zankou chickens, cut them up, and surrounded them with exactly 40 cloves of roasted garlic. Won the cordon bleu (talk about pompous) for the evening. There is nothing like a Zankou chicken - even without the garlic "sauce" - when it is spot on. Which, sadly, seems to be becoming a thing of the past.