Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Kismet Rotisserie (Los Angeles, CA)

Kismet Rotisserie
4666 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Wed 05/20/2020, 08:45p-09:40p

Kismet Rotisserie Exterior

If you saw my last post, you'll know that I finally paid a visit to Los Feliz's Best Fish Taco in Ensenada. Now that was a relatively light meal, so I decided to cross the border to East Hollywood to check out Kismet Rotisserie. The new eatery comes to us from Chefs/Owners Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer, who also operate Kismet a few doors down, as well as the now-shuttered Kismet Falafel (known as Madcapra until October 2018) at Grand Central Market. The place opened on January 15th, taking over the former home of Yuca's (the second location of the Hillhurst original--open August 2007), and Casa Diaz prior to that.

Kismet Rotisserie Menu
From what I can tell, the menu hasn't changed at all from what the restaurant usually offers--no coronavirus specials here. Obviously the spit-roasted chicken is the focus, but there are a number of Mediterranean-style sides to go along. Click for a larger version.

Hummus with Chickpeas
Hummus with Chickpeas [$5.00]
Up first was perhaps the most prototypical of meze. The hummus had a somewhat smoother than usual consistency, while in terms of taste, I found it pretty classic, though there was this hot dog-like umami note that was unanticipated, but not unwelcomed. Meanwhile, the whole chickpeas on top provided further depth and piquancy.

Pita [$3.00]
The flatbread here was of the thicker, softer, somewhat crusty variety, with a slight tanginess. It functioned as a natural accompaniment to the mezze, and curiously enough, when eaten with the hummus above, I detected an almost cong you bing-esque sensation that was a pleasant surprise. I've read that the bread is custom-made for the restaurant by none other than Bub and Grandma's.

Cucumbers [$5.00] | smashed with caraway vin
Cucumbers were as juicy and crunchy as I wanted, their bright flavors joined by complementary notes of sour, savory, and minty.

Schmaltzy Potatoes
Schmaltzy Potatoes [$5.00]
Roasted potatoes came out hot and hearty, and you could definitely taste the schmaltz in the background. Note the inclusion of a container of toum, a subtly tart, subtly sweet example that was rather restrained in its garlickiness.

Fennel Tzatziki
Fennel Tzatziki [$5.00]
I enjoyed the tzatziki, which I found lush, creamy, with a nice cucumber-y lightness. It was great with the pita above, as expected, but what was amusing was that I swear I tasted ice cream in certain bites.

2020 Bottle Logic Intrepid Orchid
To imbibe, I opened up a bottle of the new 2020 Bottle Logic Intrepid Orchid, a bourbon barrel-aged, English-style barley wine with Madagascar vanilla. The beer displayed an intense nose filled with sweet, fragrant vanilla layered over a base of nutty malt. Tasting it, I found boatloads of vanilla commingled with elements of brown sugar and caramel on the mid-palate that lingered long and strong. This was perhaps the most in-your-face barleywine I've had.

Wedge Salad
Wedge Salad [$4.00] | radishes, miso poppy vin
A half head of lettuce arrived light and crisp, well matched to that nutty, floral, semi-sweet vinaigrette while scallions added hits of zestiness.

Cabbage [$5.00] | yogurt dressing, seeds
Cabbage was delightfully crunchy, its light, vegetal funk pairing swimmingly with the creamy, nutty components in the dish.

Half Chicken
Half Chicken [$16.00] | a la carte, with chili oil & garlic sauce
The chicken here is sourced from Petaluma Poultry up in Sonoma County, and I ended up getting a half bird so I could try all the parts. I began with the breast, which was decently juicy and well seasoned; I especially liked the char situation on the skin. The wing was next, and showed off a wonderfully crisp, aggressively flavored skin, as well as a healthy dosing of umami that actually veered briny (but not in a bad way); I was reminded of the dried anchovy snacks I had as a kid. As for the (surprisingly small) thigh, it had the most luscious texture here, and conveyed a depth of flavor that reminded me of why I prefer dark meat. I ended with the drumstick, which had a taste/texture that I'll liken to a less succulent version of the thigh. Do note that this order came with two condiments: an uncommonly nutty chili sauce and the toum described above.

All in all, a very solid meal from Kismet Rotisserie. The actual chicken was quite enjoyable, though at the same time, I can't say that it was head and shoulders above the competition, especially given its cost, which I know has been a point of contention. Meanwhile, all the sides met the mark, and in fact, I'd say that this place may be worth checking out just for those.


Blogger Christian Yang said...

Hi Kevin, great write up as usual.

This is NO criticism to your post or writing, but something I wanted to point out:
I believe those with a voice in food need to start addressing the fixation on 'price' of foods vs 'value' of foods vs 'how much should this food actually cost'.

We are in a global climate crisis (among many other things), and we need to move away from 'cheap', factory farmed food as a whole for the same reason why many argue that there should be a carbon tax - factory farmed foods (including vegetation!) are argued to be THE number 1 factor in driving climate change.

I'm in the industry myself, and, while me as a consumer would also think and want to say the same thing as you, that being, $16 for a half bird is 'expensive compared to others', we have to (in my opinion) start looking at the responsible sourcing of food before we look at other things. It's a 180 turn from what we're used to as consumers, but I do believe that we need to start changing now before it's too late.

From the Petaluma Poultry website: "As a pioneer in free range and organic poultry, we are dedicated to sustainable farming practices that renew natural resources. Our goal is to produce the finest free range and organic poultry products while reducing waste, preserving our environment, supporting our employees and contributing to our local communities."

I know there is a lot of green washing out there nowadays, but we have to identify the honest growers and farmers and start listening to them. They see that the earth is suffering and that we need to change our habits in order to start the healing. Check out regenerative agriculture if interested.

Again, this is no attack on you at all. Been following you for years. I know that you're not considered a 'price sensitive diner', at least on the blog. It's just a message I think that needs to spread sooner rather than later.

Thursday, June 25, 2020 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Yep nicely said, I think we're largely on the same page here Christian. I was a bit more conscious of cost in this instance due to the outcries about pricing here, which have been more prevalent than with most restaurants.

Thursday, June 25, 2020 11:06:00 AM  

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