Elena's Greek Armenian
- lil mikey May 15, 2005 12:24 PM
After a discussion about which is better: Greek or Armenian food, we decided to try Elenas, which bills itself as Greek/Armenian.
I called for reservations and evidently reached Elena herself, because she didnt speak the English. After some commotion, a man came on the line and explained that I dont need reservations, but if it was crowded just say I talked to him. As it turns out, we didnt need reservations.
The patio is very nice, surrounded by jasmine for privacy from the street and a wonderful fragrance. Its pretty low-tech. The furniture has been there a while.
There were lots of entrees to choose from, and all pretty much priced in the $5-10 range. There are a few more expensive, but those are basically combinations of the other stuff.
We ordered, and I quickly realized I should have splurged the extra buck to upgrade my dinner salad to a Greek salad. They add olives and feta, and its much more interesting than the regular dinner salad.
As an appetizer, we also ordered a falafel plate, which had 3 falafels and some tahini sauce. It was perfect, as we were 3 people. It was served with hot, fresh pita bread. And this pita bread was not your supermarket pita. The pieces were easily 14 across. I dont think Ive ever seen pita that big.
We ordered a variety of kebabs. I ordered the lulu/shish kabob combination. It was a lot of food. It was served with rice, sauce, a roasted tomato, and of course the pita. It was cooked perfectly, but very salty. I didnt realize how salty it was until I got home and was chugging down water to quench the dry Saharan desert that was my mouth.
The chicken kebab was also quite salty, and was only dark meat. I prefer white meat, so I wasnt thrilled with this one, but the wife liked it other than the saltiness.
I also like that purplish-black spice that you sprinkle over the rice. They had a shaker on each table, and I was liberal with it on my rice. It just makes it taste more vibrant. What is that stuff?
Overall a good meal, and cheap. We brought home the leftovers and had it for lunch the next day.
Elenas Greek Armenian Restaurant
1000 South Glendale Blvd.
I think the seasoning you're referring to might be Sumac. I see it in Persian restaurants. Its taste is hard to define -- sort of tart is what I taste. But, you're right -- but it seems to enhance just about anything it touches.
Elena's lentil soup is excellent. It's plush with lentils and has a lemony tang. I usually get it instead of a salad. They have some of the best hummus in the city. It's incredibly creamy and flavorful - just perfect with a wedge of tomato and a chunk of onion wrapped in one of their heavenly pitas. Salt is occasionally overdone with the meat and chicken dishes though - but not really a big problem or great disservice to the dish.
I agree. The lentil soup was very good - and lemony which I love. I tasted the beef, lamb and chicken when I went and would have to say that I liked the chicken the best. Did not notice any over-salting at all when I was there. Beef was over cooked and I am just not that much of a lamb fan.
It sounds like sumac. My local Armenian place (Danny's) puts sumac in their fatoush salad...mmm!
Elena's Greek Armenian made for a very interesting dinner. It's a little campy, facing a major street, but shut off by hedges and plastic covering. The food is very inexpensive--quail for $8.50, everything between $6 and $12. The quail was delicious, as was the gyro meat--charred outside, well-seasoned inside. We were very content, until we got home and had to start chugging water all night long. I thought they added msg, but from the thread, I guess it's sumac, a spice I'm not familiar with. Any info on this ingredient? Thanks.