Restaurant: Skaf’s Lebanese Cuisine
Location: 367 N Chevy Chase Dr. Ste A, Glendale, CA 91206
Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: Awesome mezzes
Hedonist Anthony set up this particular dinner because he considers Skaf’s to be the best Lebanese in town. Now this is controversial — and the Armenian contingent at dinner doesn’t agree, but in any cases I trekked out to Glendale to check it out.
Street corner location in Downtown Browdown.
Inside is very casual. This is basically a lunch place. They did let us open our wines though.
Pickles and olives. The peppers were nice and spicy and the olives excellent. I enjoyed this dish as I kept munching on the olives.
Tabbouli. Tabbouleh is a Levantine vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Not everyone loves Tabbouli because it tastes so strongly of parsley — but I enjoy it for its cleansing and refreshing quality.
Labneh. Basically a yogurt cheese, similar to Greek yogurt. I love, love this stuff. I easily ate several of them and I love it with meat.
Hommus. A Levantine dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic.
Baba Ghannouj. Moutabal. Levantine appetizer of mashed cooked eggplant mixed with tahini, olive oil, possibly lemon juice, and various seasonings.
Pita Bread. Pretty standard.
Cabbage Salad. Loved this zesty salad — pretty much straight fiber to help move things down. I kept munching on it all night.
Fattoush Salad. The standard middle eastern salad. The dressing here was good, but I could do without the tomatoes or toasted pita.
Kibbeh Nayeh. Raw kibbeh is a Levantine mezze. It consists of minced raw lamb mixed with fine bulgur and spices. Kibbeh nayyeh is often served with mint leaves, olive oil, and green onions. Pita bread is used to scoop it. This is also a “more advanced” dish as it’s raw and “mushy.” I do like it a lot though, particularly with labneh!
Falafel. A deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough. It is an Egyptian dish as well as a very famous Middle Eastern dish, that most likely originated in Egypt. Not my favorite dish actually. I find falafel too dry and fried.
Cheese Roll. Carby, but delicious. Pretty much a cheese spring roll. The cheese inside is ricotta-like.
Kibbeh. A Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices — then deep fried so it gets a crispy shell. Delicious with… you guessed it… labneh.
Maanek. Little tasty “snausages”. Lots of flavor.
Soujouk. Traditional Lebanese sausage with onions. Also lots of salty/meaty flavor. Delicious.
Frog legs with garlic. Super tasty frog leg variant. Lots of GARLIC! I have heard this called Aleppo style.
Spicy Potato. Kind of like potatoes bravos, minus the sauce.
Fried Cauliflower. Served with tahini as usual. This was in before cauliflower was in.
Hommus with Beef Shwarma. Not sure why this came so late. At an odd place in the meal.
Hommus with Chicken Shwarma. Same as above, but drier. I don’t really like chicken shwarma.
Shish Kebab (beef), Shish Tawook (chicken), and Kafta Kebab (ground beef). Garlic spread. I liked the Kafta best, particularly with the garlic paste.
Ashta. Fresh rose water flavored cream topped with bananas, strawberries, crushed pistachios and honey.
Ashta without bananas. I only ate this version as I don’t like bananas. But pretty delicious as I like the soft creaminess and the delicate rose flavor.
Mocha Bourbon Butterscotch Gelato — expresso infused milk, Valrhona cocoa, Knob Creek Bourbon, and a house-made Butterscotch Sauce — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #mocha #expresso #coffee #chocolate #Valrhona #butterscotch #bourbon #KnobCreek
Tingly Passion Gelato — passionfruit striped with blackberry coulis, steeped with Chengdu Street Market Szechuan Green Peppercorns — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #passionfruit #blackberry #coulis #SzechuanPepper #SpicySweet #passion
Overall, I enjoyed Skaf’s and thought that the Mezze, while fairly typical, were very fresh and delicious. But the meal was interestingly contentious. The Armenian contingent didn’t love it. I think a big part of this is that it’s not the typical kind of “clubby” place with the big tables and the hookahs. Now those are fun, and Skaf’s is totally a lunch place with like very little evening atmosphere, but it’s food is good — and tasted very fresh. It reminded me of Sunnin from the good old days when Mama used to cook there.
Also, as usual, the Mezze are way better than the mains. They don’t even have that many mains, just some kebab and shwarma. It should also be noted that Skaf’s is well executed traditional. There is nothing “new style” here like at Mizlala. All the dishes are dishes you can find at most Lebanese (or Levantine) places, just well executed.