What’s the cure for Usualitis? Spending an enlivening, mesmeric evening at Carousel Restaurant, Authentic Middle Eastern Cuisine, in Glendale, serving Lebanese food with Armenian overtones. When you enter these doors, expect a consummate food and entertainment fete that will blow you away.
No wonder Elmer Dills loves it here. At Carousel, many languages are spoken among the multinational cosmopolitan melting pot of every age. As they say, "Good food, good music, good company, good life."
Sunday through Thursday, order off their huge, fascinating menu. But on Friday and Saturday evenings, participate in the "Entertainment Package." On these two evenings, sit back in your seat as plates and plates of piquant delicacies are brought to your table. It is easy to see why Lebanon has long been the center of culinary arts in the Middle East.
Kebabs? But of course. Yet there is so much more to the essence of Middle Eastern cuisine. They start the affair with seven cold Mezzas, or appetizers. These were so mouth-watering that we could have filled up our bellies just on this first course. Some of our favorites were the Batenjan Mekley, the best fried eggplant with garlic and cilantro that we’ve ever had, the Muhammara, a spicy dip of crushed walnuts and red pepper paste, and the Kebbeh Nayyeh (chi-kofta), which is Lebanese steak tartar.
The hot Mezzas materialize with striking flavors and spices. Our favorites were the Soujuk Banadoura, homemade Armenian sausage, and Kebbeh Maklieh (kofta), spheres of ground beef stuffed with savory items. The wonderful Kebabs main course follows.
After the enticing dessert Foret Glacé, heated basma topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel and crushed pistachios, we were sated and too full to move.
A strong pulse makes this place run. Mike Cholakian, owner at the Glendale location, credits his mother Rose with creating the recipes. Cholakian asserts that his father Greg is the heart behind Carousel, having owned and run the Hollywood Carousel for over 20 years.
The staff is exemplary. Enjoy all of this with a full bar, excellent wines and rich coffees.At 9:30 p.m., an astoundingly good band performs an international array of music to enormous approval from the crowd that dances away the hours.
Topping off the provocative music at 11p.m., Jillina and her dancers explode onto the scene. Jillina is an international favorite and the winner of major global contests for belly dancing and other dance styles. This is a professional show, her dancers being all top-notch performers. Patrons throw money onto the dance floor to show their enthusiasm finding it hard to take your eyes off these talented femmes.
What an ultimate evening! Kasuk, cheers. Tiba, delicious. And prices are incredibly reasonable.
Carousel Restaurant is located at 304 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale, (818) 246-7775. A second location is at 5112 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, (323) 660-8060. For more information, visit www.carouselrestaurant.com.
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