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Zankou Chicken

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flowergirl Aug 28, 2008 03:46 PM

Are all of the Zankou Chicken restaurants the same? I live near one in West L.A. - but is it worth it to drive to Hollywood?

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  1. gadflier RE: flowergirl Aug 28, 2008 03:49 PM

    Essentially, yes, they are all the same. I've been to both the ones you've named multiple times, and a few others. My short answer to your question on is it worth it: Absolutely not. WLA one is 98% as good as Hollywood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gadflier
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      jbeecher RE: gadflier Aug 29, 2008 01:47 AM

      the westside zankou is good in a pinch, and the items they serve seem to be as good as those at the hollywood location. BUT, as chowpatty referenced, the hollywood menu is much larger, and a lot of the kebabs and other items only found here are really delicious and cooked to order -- which adds a few minutes to your wait but is worth it in quality. i highly recommend the shish tavouk.

    2. Chowpatty RE: flowergirl Aug 28, 2008 03:52 PM

      Not necessarily worth a drive from West L.A., but the Hollywood one is the original one and somewhat different from the others. The garlic sauce is still hand-packed, for those who care about such things, and there are additional menu items such as several types of kebabs, tabbouli and grape leaves. I've always found the chicken quite consistent at that one, while I keep hearing bad reports about the other ones.

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        nosh RE: flowergirl Aug 28, 2008 04:00 PM

        There are all sorts of opinions about Zankou on this board, from the most divine rotisserie chicken ever to horrible, grotesque slop. I'm a fan. I discovered the place at the mid-Hollywood/downtown location (Sunset at Normandie) and now live near the W.L.A. branch (Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd.). Word has it that the family has split into factions, and nobody will ever know for sure whether the historic garlic paste recipe has been messed with.

        Here are the truths: The garlic paste is delicious, a fantastic idea. Their white meat breast portions tend to be a bit dried out. The half rotisserie chicken or whole chicken, shredded from the carcass mixed white and dark meat with the seasoned skin included in the pita with the garlic, is their ultimate dish. Breast quarters are a ripoff. The chicken tarna pita sandwiches are good. The beef shawarma is dry and the falafel is old. Choose wisely and you will dine magnificently, otherwise take your chances. The differences between locations are spotty, but it often pays to eye a particular perfect bird revolving on the rotisserie and specify that whole chicken.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nosh
          cant talk...eating RE: nosh Aug 29, 2008 11:27 AM

          You nailed it. Just as a note, there's free valet a the W.L.A. one which I'm not sure has been mentioned. If you're in that neighborhood around lunch time, that could be reason enough! (and no, I've never noticed a difference btwn. Pasadena, Van Nuys, WLA).

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          Diana RE: flowergirl Aug 28, 2008 04:21 PM

          They all seem to be owned by different family members, the family constantly feuds since daddy went nuts and killed his mom and sister and self (?? did I get the right family members), and the stores all sort of differ. I live near the Van Nuys one, and it's still darn good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Diana
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            theonceler RE: Diana Aug 29, 2008 03:17 AM

            I don't know how he relates to the family, but I like the way the big balding white-haired guy who is obviously a manager has always been sitting around at the tables in here (sherman oaks/van nuys) for at least a decade.

            The garlic paste has never been the big deal everyone makes of it... but anyway the tarna plate totally rocks.

            1. re: theonceler
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              sel RE: theonceler Aug 29, 2008 07:31 AM

              I always thought he was an owner or manager but I haven't seen him for a while and when I asked the lady behind the register about him she told me that he is a customer!

              1. re: theonceler
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                aventinus RE: theonceler Aug 30, 2008 02:20 PM

                I think their chicken kabobs are really good too--extremely juicy. But ultimately, the chicken tarna plate is the best thing here. I find the thick tahini sauce as impressive an accompaniment as the garlic paste.

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              lakeshow318 RE: flowergirl Aug 29, 2008 09:24 AM

              having thought that all zankou chicken restaurants were the same, i was shocked yesterday by my experience in little armenia (hollywood, on sunset). my armenian friend took me there, and his family swears by it. they live in the south bay, so it's quite a trek out there. while the rotisserie chicken was slightly better, the chicken tarna was LOADS juicier and tastier. it also is run entirely by an armenian staff. it seems less manufactured/branded than the other zankou chicken outlets. my friend tells me that the little armenia one (the original storefront) is run by the rest of the family (not the suicidal killer).

              2 Replies
              1. re: lakeshow318
                Chowpatty RE: lakeshow318 Aug 29, 2008 09:27 AM

                Yes, well obviously none of them are run by the suicidal killer, what with the suicide and all.

                1. re: lakeshow318
                  kevin h RE: lakeshow318 Aug 31, 2008 02:13 AM

                  Looks like the Hollywood location could be run by a different group. Note that the Hollywood location is not mentioned on the Zankou web site: http://zankouchicken.com/chicken_zank...

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                  SilverlakePhil RE: flowergirl Aug 29, 2008 10:37 AM

                  Last time I went, which was ages ago, my chicken was rather dry. I didn't eat most of it. I perfer Al wazir's a mile or so further west if I'm in the neighberhood.Although these days , when I want Roisserie, it's always Peruvian & the best of course, is Pollo La Brasa on 8th & Vermont.

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                    pharmnerd RE: flowergirl Aug 29, 2008 04:26 PM

                    Been to most of them (Van Nuys, Pas, Glendale, Anaheim, WLA, Hollywood). Even with last year's gas prices, not worth it to bypass one to try another IMO. All generally the same.

                    1. Normal Garciaparra RE: flowergirl Aug 31, 2008 01:24 AM

                      They are NOT the same. I've heard of people dissing Zankou, saying that the garlic paste is not the same, the quality of the chicken gone down, etc. That puzzled me since I'm always at the Hollywood location, which is just blocks from my house.

                      However, I went to the Van Nuys location, and the wall menu looked more "corporate" than the mom-and-pop Sunset Blvd one. The garlic came not in the familiar mini plastic container with the lid, but it some factory-wrapped format similar to the garlic dip packets they give out at Papa Johns...and the garlic paste DID NOT TASTE THE SAME. So now I know why people diss Zankou -- the suburban corporate locations are inferior!

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