>> Furn Saj Restaurant & Bakery | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday, 20 November 2020

Furn Saj Restaurant & Bakery

LEBANON 🇱🇧


[COVID-19 UPDATE: The large interior space is just for ordering right now of course, but there are tables set up in the shopping center's sidewalks. This is south facing and catches the low winter sun, perfect for warm lunches on cool days. Ordering online is easy through their website.]
 
2020 has many side effects, the least important of which is probably the inability to enjoy a few cups of hot tea after a big meal at Furn Saj, surrounding yourself with the gossip from other tables and sounds from the kitchen. Thankfully this seven year old restaurant and bakery is still churning out the same quality of foods that have made it both a local favorite and something worth coming long distances to enjoy.

Some people will say the magic is happening on the multiple shawarma spits, or the incredibly light falafel, and they would not be wrong. But the true marvel of Furn Saj is happening with the bread. In years past as you enjoyed that tea, you were hovered over by a large wall mural that depicted a woman stretching out dough in front of her and a man cooking it next to her.
 

They are both in deep concentration, making sure each piece of saj is perfect. Traditionally the bread is cooked on an inverted (convex) griddle that most people in Los Angeles would call a comal, but in the Levant the instrument is called a saj and where the bread gets its name from.

One recommended way to enjoy the bread is having it wrapped up into an elongated boat shape for the saroukh boat ($6.99, above), a simple but flavorful starter filled with cheese. Finely chopped parsley gives it a light green hue inside, and the finished product is sprinkled with sesame seeds when it comes out of the oven.

You will see mana'ish on the store's sign outside and it is devoted the largest section of the menu, so coming here without ordering at least one would be a mistake. In its simplest form, this flatbread is eaten with a dusting of za'atar, enjoyed in homes during breakfast and lunch. Depending on the size, different pies will be sliced up in different ways and require different folding or balancing to eat.

Here the olive mix mana'ish ($5.99, above) is sliced into eight like a delivered pizza, and despite its low cost comes in at around the size of a large pie. The cooked dough underneath is firm and requires no folding, while this unique olive mix gives you both sour and sweet tastes from its different varieties.

For all seven of those years in operation, the rotating spits of shawarma meat have remained so tempting, almost beautiful in their structure. An order of the chicken shawarma is another no-brainer, and can be done in the form of a plate with side dishes and saj bread or as a wrap. The chicken shawarma sandwich ($9.99, above) is made with a delicious piece of saj, and filled with slightly crispy cuts from the spit.

Inside the meat mixes with pickles, tomatoes, and a river of garlic sauce. The wrap holds up just as well as it tastes, and the perfect takeaway meal is created for those in a hurry.

In plate form, the selection of two sides comes into play. The gyro plate ($13.99, above) came with both a simple salad and hummus, along with the standard piece of saj on the side and bowl of pickles. This assortment creates a nice way to make a variety of differently tasting and textured bites.

The lamb gyro itself is also a mixture of textures, some with singed edges or whole sides. Dips into the hummus and bites from the pickles are blissful.

Kibbeh round ($2.50)

After expanding to the east with a new location in Glendora in 2019, What Now Los Angeles reports that Furn Saj will be opening its third location in December in Calabasas.
 
A small empire prepares to grow.

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