Freekeh Fritters & Pickley Green Sauce
Lemony Chicken & Pine Nut Pies
Kohlrabi with Pumpkin Seed, Kumquat and Barberries
Barberi Bread Baked by Bub & Grandmas
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms with Chickpeas, Pea Shoots, Green Chili & Almond Broth
Smashed Potatoes with Labneh, Macadamia Nut, Cured Scallop & Urfa Pepper
Jeweled Crispy Rice with Egg Yolk
Rabbit for two with flaky Bread, Greens, Pickles, Tahini & Labneh
Iced Turkish Coffee
Soft Meringue with Strawberries, Brown Butter Streusel, Poached Rhubarb & Sorbet
Chocolate Cake with Sesame, Butter Crumble, Date Jam & Buckwheat Ice Cream
New from the brains behind Animal, Son of a Gun and Jon & Vinny’s, an all-day restaurant said to ‘reimagine Mideast flavors for the current-day California,’ Kismet was recommended by a few trusted sources as a good place to grab a meal before attending a concert on Sunset, the trendy location in East Hollywood near the recently opened Go Get ‘Em Tiger clearly looking to capitalize on a trend kicked off by places like award-winning Zahav, Sarma or Shaya but doing so with less passion and substantially higher prices.
Tapping the talents of Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, the dining area long and narrow with blonde woods, plenty of light and simple floral garnishes, diners at Kismet are greeted abruptly at the door by a host or hostess who will inquire about whether the group has reservations and whether the whole party is present and accounted for, the answer of ‘yes’ to each really the only way to gain entrance after 5:00pm on most nights at this point as the vegetable-centric fare has been greeted with arms wide throughout its first three months since opening.
Open for breakfast/lunch at 10am, the menu a pared down version of dinner with some meal-specific items not unlike the idea at Jon & Vinny’s, those arriving after 5pm will see a dinner menu divided into five sections and just twenty-one plates inclusive of sides and snacks, the desserts numbering two and changed daily depending on the Chefs’ whim and access to ingredients.
No doubt using quality Produce and Proteins, the website suggesting that the restaurant ‘forages personal relationships with farmers and producers’ while the Public Relations team is quick to reach out and attempt to justify prices for food that seems downright audacious in some cases, it was as a group of four that nearly 1/2 of the menu was ordered along with a couple drinks, the automatic gratuity of 20% on top of tax generally what would have been left anyhow, though the fact that two plates including the $80 Rabbit Feast were poorly presented, the waitress not aware of either ingredients or preparation and seemingly disinterested in learning anything more.
Assured in their brand and often taking the opportunity to be quirky, a section of the menu detailed as “Salad-y” while creamy, ping-pong ball sized Freekeh Fritters are offered at $3 each with “Pickley” Green Sauce that is essentially fermented Cucumbers in Tahini, items listed under ‘Snacks’ including two tangy Hand-Pies that are more Pine Nut than Chicken with just a lick of Citrus are well presented but precociously priced, the outsourced bread from Smorgasburg’s Bub & Grandma’s another item that is good, but questionably worth five dollars.
Not offering any of the Falafel that made the two Chef’s famous at Grand Central Market’s Madcapra, but instead focusing on more upscale ideas such as the cool Kohlrabi with Pumpkin Seeds, sliced Kumquats and dried Barberries that comes across elegant, crisp and refreshingly sour, another great dish sees roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms tangled up with Chickpeas and Pea Shoots in a Green Chili & Almond Broth that almost tastes Thai at times, both of these plates offering a portion sharable by four at a product and preparation-appropriate cost.
Unable to resist the whole Rabbit Feast ‘for two,’ a dish of complex Stew, Herb-roasted Legs and Kebabs with Squash paired to flaky flatbread that is unfortunately served in too small a portion to fully enjoy the sizable bowls of Tahini and Lebneh, sides such as the Smashed Potatoes fried crisp with a bit of funk from dried Scallops show that the kitchen certainly understands how to add flavor without making things too heavy, the Crispy dome of Rice pulling off a stylish trick by way of the runny Egg Yolk tucked away at its center.
Appropriately serving bold Turkish Coffee over Ice before, during or after Dessert, the sweets recited as a list of ingredients by a man who seemed to be a manager or maitre d’ when the waitress again ‘forgot her lines,’ those familiar with the items offered at Son of a Gun will notice similar plating techniques including smears and crumbles when tasting Kismet’s choices, the Strawberry-Rhubarb Soft Meringue light, tangy and just sweet enough while the dense Chocolate Cake with Date Jam & Buckwheat Ice Cream is made almost savory through the addition of toasted Sesame Seeds.