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Jan 1, 2009 09:28 AM

Is Zankou an Armenian or Lebanese food?

The original first Zankou restaurant was in Lebanon. I always thought Zankou was Armenian style food? Anyone know?

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  1. Not that it's always 100% accurate , but Wikipedia excels at this sort of information:

    Remember that there is a huge number of Armenian expats living in Lebanon. Nothing wrong with Zankou being considered as both Armenian AND Lebanese.... As long as they don't mess with their garlic sauce.

    1. I have always thought it to be Lebanese style food done by Armenians..

      1. btw since we're on the subject, which is the best branch of zankou?

        19 Replies
        1. re: Lau

          It's been a while since I've been to Zankou and they've opened up other branches and maybe changed... but, since I last visited several locations, I'd vote for the location on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood closer to Los Feliz. The skin on the chicken seemed to come out crispier.

          The garlic sauce is the garlic sauce... simply delicious. I'm curious to know if anyone has any idea how this is made. I'm worried it's a blend of shortening with garlic.... but, I like-a da sauce.


          1. re: DrBruin

            I think you're right about the sauce. By the way, the Westwood location does not seem to use the same garlic sauce. It's prepackaged, which I don't ever get at the other locations. It doesn't seem to taste right.

            1. re: Frommtron

              Are you referring to the location on Sepulveda as "the Westwood location"?

              1. re: The Old Man

                I suppose I was. West LA would be much more accurate.

                1. re: Frommtron

                  I'd say this is in Westwood and I live in Westwood (at least I think so!)

                  1. re: Scotty

                    Zankou is definitely not in Westwood. It would even be a huge stretch to call Santa Monica and Sepulveda "Westwood Adjacent."

                    It's West LA.

                    Zankou Chicken
                    1716 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

                    1. re: BeenThereAteThat

                      I agree. It was my mistake in the first place.

            2. re: DrBruin

              If you do a search, you'll find recipes for the sauce on chowhound. I believe it's mashed potato, not shortening, that's the key. Also, I echo frommtron's complaint about the prepackaged sauce at the Westwood branch. They switched exclusively to prepackaged a couple of years ago, shortly after I moved to LA, and I could really tell the difference.

              1. re: a_and_w

                POTATOES! Ha! Nice work. There is a ton of vegetable oil but that's a lot better than I thought. I figured it was a savory version of an oreo filling. Now I can justify the amount I use.

                1. re: Frommtron

                  The composition of Zankou's garlic spread, whether it differs from branch to branch, and if it changed with the packaging has been the subject of previous threads and debates on this board. I've heard the rumors about potato as well, but if you ask the staff at Zankou, they insist that it is garlic processed with bit of oil, lemon juice, and salt.

                  1. re: nosh

                    "a bit of oil"? Perhaps a bit more than that. It's basically a mayonnaise with garlic taking the place of the egg yolk.

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      they told me the ingredients were "garlic and oil". i think potato might be the stuff of legend.

                      in my experience, the West LA one tends to have fresher, better chicken. But the Hollywood one still uses the original garlic sauce.

                      It drives me crazy the way they remove the chicken from the spit and put it in a container to dry out in the oven, rather than just cutting it to order.

                      1. re: ronsilverado

                        It seems like it does have potato in it to me, since it's lighter than just garlic and olive oil. Sort of like skordalia (the Greek garlic/potato spread).

                        ETA: I just did a search for skordalia and zankou and, yep, it's been discussed before.

              2. re: DrBruin

                I love Zankou, and they have the best garlic sauce i have ever tasted. I went to a Mediterranean restaurant on motor and venice once and they had good garlic. But after falling in love with that garlic, I had to find out how to make it, and nobody would tell me how to make it. I got different stories different ways, and then one day i looked on youtube and found this girl showing an amazing demonstration, it answered all my questions. She dose have a website, so if you want to check out how to make garlic sauce she tells you how to make it. I do not know if we post links here but here website is dedemed dot com. She dose a great job, i hope this helps and it taste amazing.

              3. re: Lau

                I'd vote for the one on Sepulveda, north of the 101. Woodland Hills perhaps? In any event, I live far closer to the one on Sunset, but (when I have the time) I'll drive up there because it's much much better. The meat is more tender and juicy and the sides are fresher. Parking at either branch is a bit of an issue though.

                1. re: strummerjones

                  Van Nuys strummer. I wouldn't wanna walk to Woodland Hills from there. I personally, enjoy the Burbank location for 3 reasons. Reason 1: The breasts they serve there are soooo juicy & Reason 2: The breasts on one of the order takers there are huge.

                  1. re: strummerjones

                    Well, if you want a location in Woodland Hills, they just opened one in Tarzana immediately east of the Corbin Bowl, which is in essence also the very eastern end of Woodland Hills. btw - it also has a beer & wine license, first one in the chain to do so. Also much more upscale looking, yet in a fast food kind of way.

                    1. re: carter

                      Are you sure about the Tarzana location? I don't see it listed on their website, but I did see that one is coming to Toluca Lake.

                2. It is, as I understand it, run by ethnic Armenians who came from Lebanon (there was an enormous Armenian community in northern Lebanon before the genocide). They are definitely Armenians though -- they speak Armenian to each other in the store, not Arabic.

                  As to the best branch, I'm going to go with the OC branch in Anaheim's Little Gaza -- they're just nicer and the chicken is excellent. All branches use the prepackaged (foil-wrapped) sauce now -- it's made in one place and prepackaged for distribution. The only exception may be the original Hollywood location.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Interesting stuff. I have had the house-made stuff a little under a year ago at a picnic so it is still being made in at least one branch (or was about a year ago).

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      Was it a small or big container? Whereever it's made, every branch presumably keeps tubs of the stuff for sandwiches -- I think you can buy a large container for around $5. Maybe the stuff from the tubs is fresher than the small containers?

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        They were the same small cups that they used to always hand out with the same wonderful flavor. Oh well, too many wonderful places to eat at to have to work so hard to track down the good stuff.

                    2. re: Das Ubergeek

                      ohhh good, thats closer to my family's place than LA