There are some days, you just gotta have some meat! Salty, savory, delicious meat! Whether it's beef, lamb, or even chicken - we carnivores love to rip, tear, and grind through these delicious proteins.
Most of the time, I'm puffin' and stuffin' my face at home with a nice juicy steak or some barbeque chicken in the backyard. But when I'm out partying in Hollywood, and in the mood for some Mediterranean style meat, I head to the corner of Hollywood and Gower. There, in the shadows of a strip-mall, you will find a not-so-hidden treasure, Al Wazir Chicken.
While known for their drippingly delicious rotisserie chicken, the list of mouth-watering meals doesn't end there. Al Wazir also features Shawarma (marinated slices of beef and lamb, rotating on a fire-spit and shaved off per order), lamb, beef, and kafta kabob (kafta is ground beef mixed with onions, parsley and spices). These delicious kabobs are all flame broiled, and seasoned to perfection.
Al Wazir serves up these three specialties in many forms: There's the "plate," which also comes with hummus (ground chick-peas made with olive oil and tahini), a cucumber and tomato salad (very traditional in the middle east), fluffy Persian rice, and fresh warm pita bread to dip or make into a pocket sandwich. Along with the huge portions of meat, hummus, rice, and salad, they accompany the plate with delicious beet-pickled turnips, garlic spread (unreal flavor), and hot yellow peppers. A surefire way to kick start your taste buds, and immensely accent the plethora of flavors!
If the plates seem a bit much (it’s not uncommon for two people to share a single plate), try a sandwich, made with the same yummy ingredients, just rolled up tightly in a pita bread pocket. These sandwiches come in all the same varieties as the plates: meat, kafta, lamb, chicken breast, chicken shawarma, and let's not forget the Mediterranean classic, falafel - ground chick peas, onions, garlic, and seasonings, scooped into small balls, and deep fried. Dipped in tahini sauce, these make for a great appetizer too.
If you are a vegetarian, or on a diet, Al Wazir has many meatless, and healthy options for you, such as: Grape Leaves (filled with rice, finely chopped tomatoes, parsley and lemon juice), Tabouleh (finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions, cracked wheat, lemon juice and olive oil), or Baba Ghannouj (a spread of grilled eggplant, tahini sauce, garlic and lemon juice) - all served with delicious warm pita bread for dipping. These sides are all economical and also very filling. There are also great salad choices, such as the Greek, consisting of lettuce and tomato topped with black olives, feta cheese, chopped onion, and oil and vinegar.
Besides the delicious food, and hearty portions, an enormous plus about Al Wazir is the people running it. This family owned and operated restaurant features a cast of characters, all of whom are friendly, helpful, and caring people. On my first visit, I was helped by a young man named George. He didn't know me, and I didn't know him, but he still treated me like a regular customer, offering tastes of unknown flavors, and giving me special attention not always found at strip mall eateries. On the way out, George even offered me an amazing Baklava dessert (a mixture of pistachio and/or walnuts, ground up with honey, and baked in between Filo dough). This classic Mediterranean sweet brought a delightful balance to the perfect meal, and had me heading home with a smile on my face, and a full belly.
So the next time you’re craving a taste of the Mediterranean, stop by the strip mall at Hollywood and Gower. Don't be distracted by the Subway or Dominos Pizza - head straight to Al Wazir Chicken. Your taste buds will thank you later.
Al Wazir Chicken | 6051 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, (323) 856-0660, AlWazirChicken.com