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Zankou. Downhill fast AND they changed the garlic paste!!!

Yikes!

I went to the Glendale Zankou today for the first time. I have been going only to the Hollywood location for 6 years now and WOW. I was so disappointed. First off...the once amazing garlic paste is now served in a pre-packaged and foil-sealed container. The clear plastic ones with the plastic lid was nowhere to be seen. Secondly, the flavor is totally different with this newly packaged paste. The garlic was almost undetectable and it had a very oily, lemony taste to it. Kinda like a tangy Crisco flavor. I was so shocked that I went up to the counter and asked them if they change the garlic paste recipe. The lady at the counter responded with a quick "No" and she went on to helping another customer.

Okay. SO that's the garlic paste rant. On to the chicken. It was dry and so under salted. Heck a rotisserie chicken from Ralph's has more flavor. The hummus was blah. The pita bread was good but that was from a package and well, pita bread is pretty hard to change especially from a package. As far as the pickled turnips and chopped tomato side? It was okay...not very fresh and a bit mushy. It was a sad day for me in Zankou-land. Anyone else?

Has anyone noticed the garlic paste gone wrong???

And the chicken too??

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  1. I love to hate zankou. I don't go there for a long time and then I do go and get the food and then I get pissed that I wasted a meal that I will never get back again. Then time flows by and I say "hey! i'm gonna get some zankou!" and then I get pissed because that's a meal I'll never get back again. Remind me to make notes.

    Yes I hate the prepackaged garlic butter(?).

    1. Bah. I hadn't gone since I started hearing the downhill reports a couple years ago. I first went when I first moved to Pasadena 7 years ago and it was a staple, being right down the street from me. Sad to hear how things have turned out.

      1. you've got to be kidding!

        1. There was a 100-post thread from last summer that has some explanation of what's been happening with the chain, as well as complaints.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/399999

          1. I believe each of the restaurants is owned by different family members. There was a Mild falling out some years ago. So there might be differences between them.

            Mardiros Iskenderian, 56, founder of the popular Zankou Chicken restaurant chain, shot and killed his sister, Dzovig Marjik, 45, and his mother Marjarit

            3 Replies
            1. re: LuigiOrtega

              I went to the Hollywood location recently and got the chicken tarna plate and a side of tabbouleh. Delish, amazing value IMO. I've never gone wrong at any location.

              1. re: aventinus

                I was in Zankou on Sepulveda not long ago and took a menu. The Hollywood location isn't on there, so they must be out of the chain but the Zankou sign is still up.

                1. re: Barbara Ladden

                  Ok, I JUST went to the Sunset Zankou (the original) for the first time in a while and it seems nothing has changed. There was no noticeable difference in pricing or taste and the garlic paste was served in the "traditional" solo cup with removable lid. So I've had the prepackaged garlic at the West LA branch (and higher prices there too??) but Hollywood seems good as ever.