First, I'd like to apologize for the long hiatus. I've been in the process of changing careers, as well as welcoming our new son to the world. Needless to say, life has been a little hectic (yet absolutely beautiful in every possible way). I promise to start with more reviews in addition to my Insta posts - thanks for following!!
It was Valentine's Day, so the wifey and I decided to go for a day adventure together rather than forcing ourselves to do dinner at some restaurant with an overpriced crappy fix menu. Kismet has been on my radar, and since getting to Los Feliz from the Westside is almost impossible at night, we thought a weekday brunch was absolutely perfect - and it was.
The brunch menu here is diverse with an emphasis on middle eastern flavors, and very different than what you will see at most places. Lots of dishes are meant for sharing, so come with a big group and try a little bit of everything. Since it was only the two of us on our romantical date-day, we only ordered three things:
First up was a beautiful dish - broccoli toast with labneh, pumpkin seed & citrus. Kismet's rendition of a brunch toast with broccoli was a vision for the eyes - our neighbor ordered it before us, and the entire dining room stops what they're doing to see what is passing by. Who knew broccoli would be so wonderful? The dish comes out cold (surprise!), and you expect it to be a very simple dish - but every bite you take has so many flavors ranging between the citrus, pumpkin seeds, kumquats and labneh. Even though I am extremely opposed (avoiding the word "hate" here) to kumquats, every ingredient here had its reason. I wouldn't necessarily call this a brunch dish, nor would I be satisfied eating broccoli and bread by itself as a meal, but it was a great way to start our meal.
DishRanker Toast Score: +2
If there's a shakshuka on the menu, there's a very high probability that I'm ordering it, especially since I'm always in search of the perfect shakshuka here in LA (which doesn't come out of my own kitchen). I find that every restaurant tones down the middle eastern spices when it comes to this dish to appease the gringo palette, and unfortunately, Kismet was no different. The sauce seemed more like a plain tomato sauce (I found bits of celery which explained the sweetness), so I think this dish is more like a eggs in purgatory than shakshuka. I couldn't taste any harissa, east african spices, or any other strong flavors in the sauce. The eggs were also very undercooked, to the point that the whites were even still runny. When you broke the yolks, the eggs would simply become another ingredient in the sauce making the whole thing a watery tomato soup. I prefer my shakshuka eggs a little over medium so there's a contrast in textures between the eggs and the sauce, and something I can eat with a fork.
On the other hand, the barbari bread, which is made by Bub & Grandma's, is life changing. It is the most delicious, soft, and gorgeous piece of barbari bread I've ever had - and barbari was big in our Persian home since it was my mom's favorite. I've begged Bub & Grandma's to let me buy some directly from them, but they said it is made strictly for Kismet - boo to that.
DishRanker Shakshuka Score: 0
For our brunch dessert, we chose to go with the flaky bread served with labneh, preserved lemon and honey. I had heard a lot about this flaky bread, and that it was a "can't miss". If you've ever been to Night + Market (and if you haven't, you're basically living on Mars), their beef panang (my favorite dish on the menu next to the Khao Soi) is served some roti, which is eerily similar to this flaky bread. The texture of the bread reminded me of really crispy sangkak bread - but the major problem here was that it was super oily. It was so oily that I had to wipe my hands clean every time I grabbed a piece. The homemade labneh was smooth and delicate, and when mixed with the honey, it made for the perfect way to end our meal (I'm not a fan of lemon curd, so I stayed away from that entirely). If this dish was paired with the barbari bread, it would have been a homerun.
DishRanker Flaky Bread Score: +1
I was super excited to try out Kismet, but I think it slightly fell short - for brunch at least. I can see this place being a great neighborhood spot to drop in for some coffee and toast, but not worth the long drive to Los Feliz from the Westside. Maybe dinner is better?