Monday, December 22, 2014

Modern Lebanese Dining at Bowery Bungalow

by: guest blogger @iam_robot

You’ve heard it time and time again that Los Angeles is a melting pot of different cultures, where we have various cultures and ethnic groups intermingling in one big community. And that’s what’s great about eating in LA; we get to eat the kind of food other people grow up with or our plate will comprise of newfound eclectic mix of culture from every corner of the world. Just for good measure, look at the dining options in Silverlake. Whether you want the most authentic Chaat from Samosa House, Taiwanese Beef Roll from Pine and Crane, or excellent Northern Thai Curry Khao Soi from Night Market – seriously whatever you want, it’s here in this trendy community and chances are, it’s affordable.
Today, I wanted to share one of the most exciting additions in Silverlake – not too far from the Sunset Junction came George Abou-Daoud’s latest enterprise called as Bowery Bungalow. Unlike his other restaurants (Bowery, Rosewood Tavern, or Mercantile), Bowery Bungalow features cuisines close to Abou-Daoud’s Lebanese upbringing rather than the typical gastropub fares. Yes, he found much success in the gastropub movement since 2005 but being born to a Lebanese mother and Egyptian father, Abou-Daoud felt a natural inclination to showcase his take on modern Lebanese cuisine as middle-eastern inspired cuisines are few and far between in this neighborhood. He thinks herbs we hardly know of (or could pronounce) like marjoram, sorrell, sumac, jute mallow, and purslane could be the next big hit in Los Angeles dining scene. 10_2014_BOWERY_BUNGALOW-25
As far as menu, Bowery Bungalow is a cut above the usual. Focusing on Middle-Eastern cuisines, the place is swank but the price is right. I thought vegetables dishes like Za’atar Bruschetta, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, Chickpea Falafel and Fried Cauliflower with toasted Dukkah are some of the things I could never get anywhere else even in this multi-cultural city.

Za’atar Bruschetta
Fried Cauliflower with toasted Dukkah
Couscous Royale with Chickpeas, Seasonal Fruit, Local Dried Fruit, Nut, Saffron
For the most part, these dishes were very satisfying in a classic sort of manner, but the quality of the ingredients it memorable.

I also thought the heartier fares are very traditional yet unabashed in flavors. A few weeks later I’m still dreaming of the smoked pork belly glazed in fenugreek syrup and the Baby Back Ribs rubbed with Turkish coffee and Grape Molasses.
 Baby Back Ribs, Mideast Spice Rubbed, Turkish Coffee, Grape Molasses IMG_0254
Smoked Pork Belly with Fenugreek
Chicken Musakhan, Yorkshire Pudding, Pine Nut Crema IMG_0257
These meats were meticulously smoked over Japanese Binchotan coals resulting in fall-off-the-bone meats while maintaining the inherent juicy/ succulent flavors. Handfuls of aromatic Mideast rubs permeate throughout, lending a sweet herbaceous note. The Chicken Musakhan with Yorkshire pudding and Pine Nut Crema is the quintessential comfort food here – the stewed bird was bold accentuated with the deep, aromatic, slightly sweet flavors of the onion. I thought it’s the perfect winter dish, made even better with the slight lemon-y tart flavor of the sumac balanced by the runny/ rich quality of the Yorkshire pudding.

To finish off meal, I had the Cardamom Rice Pudding and the Konafah (Middle Eastern pastry made with cheese phyllo dough)
Cardamom Rice Pudding, Persimmon, Local Honey, Vanilla Bean IMG_0258
Konafah with Soledad Goat Cheese, Ricotta, Sweet Cheese, Rosewater, Aromatics
The Cardamom Rice Pudding was definitely worth sinking into – it’s sweet as it’s laced with honey and persimmon but I just love the creamy and dense texture of the pudding. As far as the Konafah, I like the interplay of sweet and savory from the incorporation of goat cheese, rosewater, and sweet cheese. The texture of the Konafah reminds me of Baklava; it’s flaky, moist, and crunchy all at the same time

I really enjoyed my time here at Bowery Bungalow. Having visited many of George’s other restaurants, I expected to have a good meal here, but the experience exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, Bowery Bungalow is probably George’s best restaurant thus far – ingredient-centric menus are featured with cooking techniques that are borderline intricate/ old school without compromising bravado flavors we've come to love in many Middle Eastern foods. It’s definitely a huge nod to a more precise, cultured, and refined modern dining in LA.

Bowery Bungalow
4156 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663-1500
Bowery Bungalow on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: this visit was hosted


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