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Zankou's Secret?

RoachCoach Dec 21, 2005 01:21 AM

I'm trying to like Zankou. Been 4or5 times and this time I ordered extra garlic sauce...and squeezed it out of the cup onto my tarna....I know I'm going to offend some hounds but....

This sauce gives me chills...the creepy kind.

Tastes like 80% COLD LARD. Is this their secret? I'm all for lard when it's hot and right, like at a great ramen shop like Daikokuya as a frying tool. But this is just wrong.

I totally agree with the poster who recommended Hrazdan (sp?) in Whittier. Their garlic sauce blows Zankou AWAY. Tastes like olive oil, lemon and 99 %fresh garlic.

  1. w
    wendy8869 Dec 21, 2005 11:58 AM

    Yay! It was me that recommended Hrazdan!!! I'm glad someone else likes it too. Tha sad part is that I started going to Hrazdan before I ever went to Zankou. When I finally got to Zankou, after driving out to WLA from the La Habra area, I really couldn't understand the hype. Hrazdan is definitely better, in just about everything. I guess it's a good thing that its closer to me than any Zankou. :-)

    PS.. I never leave that place without a large tub in hand of that sauce

    16 Replies
    1. re: wendy8869
      Funwithfood Dec 21, 2005 12:25 PM

      Where is Hrazdan? What should I order?

      La Habra used to have a wonderful rotisserie chicken place on La Habra Blvd @ Harbor (I think). It was WAY better than Zankou! Did you ever try that place?

      1. re: Funwithfood
        Like-Go-Eat? Dec 21, 2005 12:52 PM

        I agree that Hrazdan Rotisserie Chicken is better than Zankou. I have eaten there several times as I go down old town Whittier once every six weeks or so. I also like Canadian Café Rotisserie Chicken. Oh, Funwithfood, I want to tell you I tried the Chicken Fried Steak at Park Ave. I agree it is very good. Not “Deep Fried” but fried on the fry top. The batter was perfect. The steak was a cubed steak but fresh and high quality as was the burgers. Thanks for that rec.

        Hrazdan Chicken
        12602 Hadley St
        Whittier, CA 90601
        (562) 698-1530
        At the corner of Pickering Ave.

        Canadian Café (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Pea bacon & eggs, Canadian style Rotisserie Chicken, Poutine Fries – covered w/ Gravy & melted Cheese Curds)
        125 E. Colorado Blvd. (Take Myrtle north of the 210 Fry then right on Colorado)
        Monrovia, CA
        (626) 303-2303

        Park Ave. (American food at good prices, Great Burgers, Spinach Salad, Chicken Fried Steak, Steak salad, Steak, Sea food, Chocolate-berry bread pudding, homemade vanilla ice cream)
        11200 Beach Blvd.
        Stanton, CA
        (714) 901-4400

        1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
          Funwithfood Dec 22, 2005 11:08 AM

          So glad you liked the Chicken Fried Steak at Park Ave, it really is uniquely good. What burger did you try--I've yet to try one.

        2. re: Funwithfood
          wendy8869 Dec 21, 2005 01:38 PM

          Get the chicken plate, if you're in the mood for chicken. Pita, garlic sauce, hummus, pickles, rice, and 1/2 chicken. Last time I went I got the gyro plate but I definitely like the chicken plate better. It is a serious hole in the wall though, but the owners are super nice.

          I've been to the chicken place you speak of. I think it was okay...I Like hrazdan better :-)

          Link: http://hrazdanchicken.com/

          1. re: wendy8869
            condiment Dec 21, 2005 06:20 PM

            I'd read this thread this morning, and I was driving through Whittier anyway, so I checked out Hrazdan. And I was kind of bummed out - not only is Hrazdan not better than Zankou, it is not worthy of kissing the hem of Zankou's garment. Mushy, underseasoned chicken; weirdly grainy garlic sauce; felafel as big as croquet balls but dry and tasteless; baba ghanoush that could double as spackle - not worth the drive, to put it mildly.

            1. re: condiment
              RoachCoach Dec 21, 2005 07:24 PM

              The "grainy" -ness comes from lots of fresh, therefore crisp and crunchy, garlic. If you like your garlic sauce to be Crisco-y then Zankou is your place.

              RE: Rotiserrie chicken itself, I think the Peruvian version is the best---forgot the name...brasa pollo or something in K-town.

              1. re: RoachCoach
                condiment Dec 22, 2005 12:03 PM

                I am no stranger to fresh garlic in any of its guises. This graininess was more in the nature of small clots, as with a custard that has seized.

                Have you ever actually tasted Crisco? The consistency isn't quite what you'd think it might be, and certainly has no relation to Zankou's smooth, elegant sauce.

                1. re: condiment
                  wendy8869 Dec 22, 2005 12:51 PM

                  Maybe you got a bad batch- I have a tub in my fridge right now and it's not like that. Are you sure you went to the right spot? LOL...

                  besides taste is a personal thing.
                  We all have different experiences and preferences. I have never ever had the experience that you describe at Hrazdan. Sorry.

                  1. re: wendy8869
                    Like-Go-Eat? Dec 22, 2005 03:02 PM

                    I think it is more a matter of taste. I like the sauce at Hrazdan and Zankou’s. The reason I gave up on Zankou’s is after three visits to two different locations (two friends told me to, “try it again, I can’t believe you don’t like it”) I got a overcooked chicken evry time. I like chicken wings. When cooked right they are the most tender part of the bird. At Zankou’s I could not eat the wings because they were close to being like jerky in texture (i.e., dry). I have been to Hrazdan twice and ate a moist chicken both times. To me this is not a, “hole-in-the-wall.” Hrazdan is a store front shop with good food and super nice people running it who want very much for you to be happy.

                    Hrazdan Chicken (Mediterranean and Armenian)
                    12602 Hadley Street
                    Whittier, CA 90601
                    (562) 698-1530
                    Monday thru Saturday 11AM to 9PM
                    At the corner of Pickering Ave.

                    1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                      Don Dec 23, 2005 01:50 AM

                      I love Zankou, but you are correct about the wings. They are always burnt to a crisp, which I'm guessing is a predictable by-product of a cooking style that renders the rest of the bird perfect.

                      I'm willing to blow off the wings to get the rest of the chicken right, but if you're a wings fan, I can see why Zankou wouldn't be right for you.

                  2. re: condiment
                    RoachCoach Dec 24, 2005 12:22 AM

                    Yes I have tasted Crisco and it was inelegant...and tasted exactly like Zankou's sauce. I'm not trying to say no one should eat at Zankou's. I just think they are using the KFC "Secret Recipe". Only KFC fries the chicken in lard instead of slathering it on cold. Lard and it's vegetable imitator Crisco can be a heavenly indulgence(not at KFC) when used wisely. I just not a condiment or a dish best served cold(shiver me timbers)

                2. re: condiment
                  Nick A Feb 3, 2006 11:15 PM

                  Sorry, but this thread seems like the bash Zankou thread. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats Zankou - Period. Those in doubt should compare Hrazdan against Zankou and you'll see its not even a comparison. The guy who said Zankou was flavorless was very amusing to say the least. Zankou is flavorless??? I must admit that the falafel isn't the best in SoCal, but their shawarma and chicken cannot be beat, impossible.

                3. re: wendy8869
                  Funwithfood Dec 22, 2005 11:04 AM

                  The place on La Habra Blvd at Harbor is no longer there. It was owned by an Armenian guy, who also had a location in LA somewhere.

                  Zankou wasn't worth the drive from Fullerton to Anaheim--zero flavor.

                  I'll give Hrazdan a try. What I liked about the place on La Habra blvd years back was how incredibly flavorful the chicken was--in addition to being moist.

                  1. re: Funwithfood
                    wendy8869 Dec 22, 2005 11:37 AM

                    Oh, okay then... Well then I've never been there, LOL!!! I was thinking of another chicken place that is on that corner now. I actually haven't been in this area all that long, about 7 years or so. I grew up in Norwalk, which is definitely a CH wasteland. I really hope you try and like Hrazdan (after the bad review here :-(... love love love the chicken plate. It is a hole in the wall though- just a warning!!!

                    1. re: wendy8869
                      WLA Dec 22, 2005 11:49 AM

                      "...I grew up in Norwalk, which is definitely a CH wasteland..."

                      Best Thai food restaurant in Los Angeles is in Norwalk, so they get redeemed on that count alone.

                      Renu Nakorn.
                      13041 E. Rosecrans Ave.
                      (562) 921-2124

                      1. re: WLA
                        wendy8869 Dec 22, 2005 12:47 PM

                        Sorry, I should have mentioned Renu Nakorn as the only thing Norwalk has to offer. I unfortunately didn't find out about it until I left several years back. I haven't been there yet, but I recently got a chance to go to Lotus of Siam in LV and if they are anything alike, I will get to Renu Nakorn, it's currently one of my top five list to get to.

            2. The Chowhound Team Dec 21, 2005 08:28 AM

              Hi all. Please continue any further discussion of the Zankou potential recipe for their garlic sauce on our Home Cooking board, (see link below to take you there) where recipe's are talked about.

              Thanks for everyone's cooperation.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/cooki...

              1. p
                Professor Salt Dec 21, 2005 01:42 AM

                The secret is mashed potato, probably the flaked instant stuff. "Chris G" came up with a recipe for toum resembling Zankou probably 2 years ago. I tested it using real potatoes, and it was close, but not quite the same texture. I'm pretty sure the difference was the instant flakes.

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