pom couscous

pom steak

Adana Restaurant

by David Latt
Print Email

dlimg_9706.jpgOne of my favorite restaurants isn't close to where we live. Adana is forty-five minutes away in Glendale.

The light and airy dining room suggests a banquet hall in an elegant European boutique hotel. There are white tablecloths on all the tables, pastel landscape murals on the walls and delicate wrought iron framing the windows facing busy San Fernando Road.

I would enjoy the food at Adana at any price, but with large entrees costing from $6.50 to $10.95, there's a special pleasure in being served an affordable, well-prepared meal.

Even though there are 15 kababs on the menu, I mostly stick with the dark meat chicken kabob, the pork chops and baby back ribs. A friend who joins me on the trek likes the lamb chops kabob. They are all delicious.

Waiting for our entrees, we have an Armenian coffee, share a large plate of tabouli and catch up about family, work and movies.

dlimg_0373.jpgSerge, the waiter, or Edward Khechemyan, the owner and chef, brings a basket of lavash or pita (I prefer lavash) and a dish of sweet butter. We eat the tabouli and lavash with relish. The freshly chopped Italian parsley, tossed with bits of tomato, scallions, olive oil and lemon juice, has a touch of heat. We talk as we eat and sip the strong coffee.

Armenia is sandwiched between Turkey and countries previously aligned with the Soviet Union. Their national dishes borrow from neighboring cuisines, with the strongest influence coming from the Middle East.

The dishes arrive beautifully platted. The pieces of deboned chicken meat are lined up like pillows resting on a bed of rice. My buddy's lamb chops come with the same generous helping of rice as my grilled chicken. The lamb doesn't look like a kabob. The fat chops give off a fragrant, aromatic sweetness that is intoxicating.

We had both selected the same side dishes: homemade hummus and a brightly colored Persian salad of roughly chopped ripe tomatoes, red onions, Italian parsley and unpeeled Iranian cucumbers.

dlimg_0385.jpgMy friend attacks the lamb chops. Holding the bare bone in his hand, he alternates bites of succulent, sweet meat with fork fulls of rice flavored with scoops of humus and the tomato-cucumber salad.

I eat with more deliberation, savoring each bite by spreading butter and hummus on a piece of lavash, adding a spoonfull of rice, Persian salad and slices of the moist, dark chicken meat to create a bite sized packet of aromatic flavors and complimentary textures. I construct the next packet—and the next—until I have eaten every last piece of chicken and grain of rice.

Working in a closet-sized kitchen, Khechemyan could cut corners but won't. Even though the prices are little more than you would pay at a fast food restaurant, the food is prepared-to-order using the freshest ingredients. He insists on working with quality food and the proof is in each bite. Khechemyan and his fellow chef, Sonik Nazaryan, are masters of layering flavors.

For a small restaurant, the menu has a good variety of dishes, including familiar American classics, including Philly cheese steak sandwiches, hamburgers and chicken breast sandwiches to name a few. Adana also offers many salads, thick, spicy lentil and barley soups and traditional Armenian stews. Finally, there are many popular Middle Eastern appetizers such as domeh, hummus, yogurt and cucumber dip.

The combination of textues and flavors is such a pleasure. Any foodie in search of umami has to make the trek to Adana. That's what's at work here. All your taste buds are in play—salty, sour, sweet and bitter.

My friend and I finish our meal with a second cup of Armenian coffee. We are completely satisfied and happy. Even though Adana is far from home, I go back as often as I can. It's that good.

 

Adana Restaurant, 6918 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA 91201-1609, (818) 843-6237

 

 

David Latt is an Emmy-award winning television producer who turns to cooking to alleviate stress. He shares his experiences with food and his favorite recipes on his blog Men Who Like To Cook.  

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

320 South Wine Lounge
Los Angeles
by Carolan Nathan

320southlogoFlouncing along La Brea Avenue one windy day looking for a great cup of coffee which, by the way, is rather difficult to find in Los Angeles, I happened upon a rather stark building. Being the...

Read more...
Island Creek Oyster Bar
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

island-creek-oyster-bar-boston-maSince 2010, Island Creek Oyster Bar's holding the corner at 500 Commonwealth in Kenmore Square. Any time after four, you'll find 175 of the happiest people in Boston. When I go by on my walk, it's...

Read more...
Appetizers as a Meal
Mid-West
by Sue Doeden

altHave you noticed how easy it is to make a meal of just appetizers at a restaurant? On a trip to the Twin Cities last week, my husband and I paid our first visit to 112 Eatery. Located in the...

Read more...
Our Pit Stop at Harris Ranch
Southern California
by Lisa Dinsmore

harrisranch.jpgI'm an obsessive travel planner. I leave nothing to chance when venturing far away from my home. I need a lay of the new land to feel safe and happy. I don't always do everything or go to every...

Read more...