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Nov 18, 2013 01:47 PM

Hey Westsidegal! Thanks for the Itzik Hagadol recs

A big thank you to Westsidegal for your persistence and determination in pimping the eggplant salads at Itzik Hagadol. We finally cashed in on my soon-to-be-expiring Groupon, and we loved it.

For those who haven't been, it's the Israeli place in Encino (Bev Hills location on Canon Drive coming "soon", though even the owner doesn't know when). They're known for the neverending panoply of 20 hot and cold "salads" which is $17.99 as a stand-alone dish or $8.99 if you buy an entree. So, it's pricey-- it's hard for us to not think of Elena's spectacular combo or chicken kebab plates for $8-$10 when eating Mediterranean food, and that does distract a bit. But the salads are really the draw here, and although I do feel it's too expensive, it's good enough that we'd return.

We had a very good experience last night-- although some of the salads seemed like afterthoughts (one of the cooked tomato dishes tasted like we were eating lumpy tomato paste), most of the salads were quite good, and we did especially enjoy the eggplant-- in particular the baba ghanouj which was wonderfully silky and smoky, and the ratatouille-like dish of "picante" eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini, which my Lovely Tasting Assistant™ (LTA™) claims she could eat "every day for the rest of her life." The thin, rectangular slabs of fried eggplant were also wonderfully silky on the inside with a beautiful outer crunch-- not greasy, and a great counterpoint to the freshness of the salads. Sadly, the bread was not fresh (I should have asked for a fresh one as the server was really gracious in that gruff and slightly boasting Israeli way- you could tell he loved the food there).

We also ordered the lamb patties ($16.99) and the house kebab ($11.99)-- a lulu-style mince kebab. Both were unfortunately charred and the lamb patties were ever so slightly dry, but the seasoning in both was spot on. So the cooking was a little sloppy-- we'll need to be clearer about that next time.

Definitely recommend a visit, Groupon or not. On our next visit, my wife will be ordering a giant bowl of the Israeli ratatouille and will likely not share with me.

Mr Taster

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  1. i'm beyond thrilled that you enjoyed it!
    practically nothing in this world gives me more pleasure than turning a fellow chowhound on to another source of good chow.

    4 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      I still have to go based on your rec, but I got lots of love for you on the Gelato Lounge rec.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Is Gelato Lounge the place that supplies 800 deg w/ their Gelato? I've been tempted to try it b/c it looks so good but have refrained....

          1. re: ilysla

            the gelato at the gelato lounge, imho, is better than that at 800 degrees.

    2. I was just telling my hubby that I want to go back here. Loved the salads, and their mushroom hummus was delicious. I've got groupings for Itzik and Hummus Bar burning a hole in my pocket!

      4 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        If you have the same Itzik groupon that I do, it expires in a few days-- so be careful. Where'd you get the Hummus Bar & Grill voucher?

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          There must have been later ones, Mr. T -- the one I have expires 2/14/14

          1. re: ozhead

            I bought another one, with an alternate Groupon account, as it wouldn't let me buy another. Expiration date is sometime in March. Good news!

            Mr Taster

          2. re: Mr Taster

            Both are from Groupon. My IH groupon expires in February. Both IT and HB run groupons on a regular basis.

        2. One word of caution: avoid the Israeli wines. Not cheap and prone to hangover production.

          1. So you grab a whole slew of the salads without being burdened by an un-necesssary entree ?

            Btw, Taster, how do you do the TM signature ?

            Thanks man.

            26 Replies
            1. re: kevin

              you can buy the salads without buying an entree. but they charge per person, because they refill them on request.

              1. re: linus

                another stupid question: possible to go as a solo diner ?

                1. re: kevin

                  Kevin, the soon(?)-to-be-open outpost will be on Canon, right close to Mastros. Fill the belly with a variety of salads, and then to Mastros Penthouse for cocktails, as you've been wanting to do.

                  1. re: Wayno

                    Oh, man, that just spells trouble.

                    i'll probably have to get an app at mastro's too.

                    man, cannot live on salads alone.

                      1. re: jessejames

                        jessejames: this is not the place i'd recommend for a steak.

                        for middle-eastern beef, my daughter likes the shish kabab at shamshiri grill for reasonably priced beef filet.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Someone said mastros. I want to try shimishiri. Good lunch spot?

                          1. re: jessejames

                            Damn. I guess I can't go no more.

                            1. re: jessejames

                              mastros is "high end"
                              shimshiri is "great for the price"

                              shimshiri offers a reduced-quantity verson of almost all of their entrees at lunch on the weekdays at a reduced price.

                            2. re: westsidegal

                              WSG - tried shamshiri for first time today -- dynamite recommendation. Thanks.

                        2. re: Wayno

                          I wonder if the new Beverly Hills location will also maintain the bottomless $18 salad prices... it'd make it a bargain for the arae.

                        3. re: kevin

                          i don't see why you couldn't go solo and order the salads. unless you feel self conscious about having twenty (small) plates of food in front of you.

                          and as for itzik hagadol, you can live on their salads alone. i've not had anything else there worth the trouble.

                          1. re: linus

                            While living not too far from there, I still have never been, but all my friends who have indicate that the salads/apps are really the only thing(s) to eat.
                            But since I can walk to Carnival, with a somewhat similar menu, I tend to get lazy and walk...

                            1. re: carter

                              i'd narrow it down even more:
                              imho, the EGGPLANT dishes are what you should be eating there.
                              there are lots of places that can acceptably grill meats/poultry/fish. i don't need to drive from playa del rey to the valley for skewered/grilled food.

                              the eggplant dishes, though, are a different story.
                              ever since magic carpet closed, there has been no other source for excellent eggplant. (the single exception is that lukshon offers ONE great eggplant dish).
                              basically if, like me, you have a special liking for this vegetable, and you want the best, you will be driving to the valley.

                              1. re: westsidegal


                                Are you referring solely to the 4 eggplant dishes that appear in the salad setup, or are you recommending any of the eggplant dishes that might appear as an appetizer/entree?

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  ...i've never tried the appetizer/entree dishes because i've always stuffed myself beyond the beyond with the array-of-salads dishes.
                                  (i'm still stuffing myself today with yesterdays leftovers from the ayce array-of-salads.)

                                  in addition to the eggplant salads, ask for the cooked carrot salad dish.

                          2. re: kevin

                            kevin, more often than not i go as a single diner.
                            none of my friends will drive to the valley for eggplant.
                            have always been treated very well as a single diner.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              I will drive there if the eggplant is as good as The Magic Carpet.

                              1. re: kevin

                                in particular, the dish that the LTA liked, is definitely in the Magic Carpet League. if you end up agreeing with me and hoover your way through the stuff as i do, they will continually refill the plate so that you will be able to take the last portion home with you. guess what i had for breakfast today?

                                (since i'm not a fan of potato salad, when i order at IH, i always tell them to omit any salads that are potato-based.
                                gives me more room on the table and reduces the amount of waste since not only will i not eat potato salad at the restaurant, i won't even bother to take potato salad home with me.)

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Is it ok to stay away from anything mayo-based ? Or are most of the salads except the eggplant ones mayo-based ??????

                                  Thanks a bunch as always.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    if you click around here, you can see a list of the salads.
                                    plenty of them non mayo based.

                                    1. re: linus

                                      Shoot. Damn. Not good.

                                      Thanks Linus.

                                      You are da man.

                                    2. re: kevin

                                      sure it's absolutely ok,
                                      just tell your server when they come to take your order that you would like them to omit the mayo-based salads.

                          3. I've been a few times. Only problem is that there is too much to eat, and it all tastes great. Bring your appetite. Very casual, too. Kinda funky/casual.