Tuesday, April 19, 2005

User Guide to Raffi's Place

Raffi's Place (211 East Broadway Glendale, 818-240-7411) is famous among Chowhounds and others as the best kabob house in Los Angeles, no mean feat considering the huge Persian concentration in the area. I love Raffi's but not until recently did I discover the full Raffi protocol thanks to my Persian friend Kathy - who also revealed that the correct pronunciation is KAH-bob, always a useful thing to know.

Although the main dishes are gigantic, we tried the yoghurt + herbs appetizer called moussokhiar as well as a Mediterranean shirazi salad with a tomato base, from the town that gave its name to the grape. Both were excellent, and of course the house dough ("doog", yoghurt drink) is appropriate by the pitcher.

Kabobs are the standard types:
Barg = thinly sliced beef
Shish = thicker cuts of sirloin
Boneless lamb
Shishlique = lamb chops, superior to boneless
Luleh = minced meat more commonly called koobideh (luleh means "tunnel")
Surprisingly good chicken and chicken koobideh
Mahimahi for those who thought this was California cuisine

Kathy's main revelation was what to do with the carefully sliced lavash, onion and basil that is brought to the table before one's KAH-bobs. This is for wrapping the meat much like the lettuce or rice sheets at a Korean barbecue joint. The choicest part of the basil stalk is the part where the young leaves are emerging, so fight amongst your fellow diners for this. Dust the meat with a little sumac (the purple spice in the shaker) wrap into a roll, and one is ready to eat with one hand and spoon buttery rice with the other - note that the butter pat is fully intended to enrich your rice, not to spread on the lavash. Having eaten most every dish at Raffi's I can say that my favourite kabob is definitely the luleh, it is remarkably moist and delicious. This is a pure judgement call, as the others are all impeccably grilled; Raffi's Place is nothing if not an example of the restaurant that does one thing superbly.


Blogger Daily Gluttony said...

Hey Simon,

Thanks for the review on Raffi's! I'm always looking for good Persian food--definitely gonna give this place a try.

Also kudos on the lavash tip...now I'll totally be a pro.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Persian, the owner is Armenian from Iran, not persian. But the Kabob is persian style. Its also hella good.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, it's quite good. They've been in business for a long time, and the kubideh is really good. The lamb shishlik is also tasty as are the bone-in and bone-out chicken kebabs. Also, try the mast-mousir, it's to die for. It's like a yogurty-sour creamy dip with shallots, and it's amazing with the dishes. The beans (almost bbq beans) are also a tasty appetizer and the ikra (eggplant dip) is quite good too. Hummus is good too. All go great as a side with their dishes.

7:58 PM  

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