Skaf's Grill had been on my radar for several weeks and we finally decided to give it a try last Friday. We arrived around 8 p.m., parked on the street and walked over to Skaf's. The restaurant is tucked away in the corner of a mini strip mall. We walked in to a packed restaurant and struggled to get the attention of the wait staff. After about five minutes, someone came by and told us we would be seated after the next table gets up. 10 minutes later we were seated and the waiter came by to take our drink orders. The menu arrived with our water and we decided to order the chicken shwarma and stuffed grape leaves special, which the owner Sam raved about when he dropped off our waters. Sadly, when the waiter took our orders we found out both dishes were sold out. I looked at the spit the shwarma was on and the waiter explained that what was left would be dry and he would not sell it. Appreciating his honestly, we decided to go with the waiter's recommendations.
Included with Entree
The hommos was incredibly creamy, smooth and flavorful. A bite with the warm pita brought me to hommos and pita heaven. This is one of the best, if not the best hommos I have tasted. We later found out that the hommos is made fresh every morning with the best tahini (according to the owner) imported from Beirut. The babaganouch is made every morning as well, but unfortunately they ran out right when we sat down.
Included with Entree (2 pitas per entree)
Included with Entree
The cabbage salad was crunchy and refreshing. There was a nice balance between the vinegar and spices in the dressing and the sweetness of the cabbage. A welcomed accompaniment to the main dish.
The falafels were slightly overcooked on the outside, but the center was very moist and flavorful. The pickled radishes on the plate had a small kick of horseradish, which was a nice surprise. However, nothing about this dish stood out and not a dish I would recommend nor order again.
Ground beef mixed with chopped parsley, onions and spices, grilled on 2 skewers
The kebabs were moist, with a good balance of spices, and made with quality meat. A dip in some left over tahini from the falafel plate gave the kebabs the extra flavor it needed. The rice was perfectly cooked, some of the best rice I have had in a restaurant. I would add this dish to my list of possibilities at Skaf's Grill, but there are definitely others I want to try before going back to this dish.
Chicken breast marinated with garlic and spices, grilled on 2 skewers, served with garlic spread
When the shish tawook arrived, all the overcooked, under seasoned, over seasoned, undercooked grilled chicken dishes I've had flashed before my eyes. I even took a bite of my cabbage salad before cutting into a piece of chicken, hoping to delay what I thought would be another bad grilled chicken dish. After I took the first bite, all the previous bad memories escaped out of my mind and I sat in my chair enjoying a perfectly cooked, well seasoned, moist and tender piece of chicken breast. I tried the chicken with the garlic spread and found it too overpowering and ate the remaining of my chicken without it. I did enjoy some of the garlic spread with a piece of pita. The shish tawook was the most enjoyable dish for me and definitely something I will order again.
The service was good enough. The restaurant was packed with one waiter and from what I could tell, he was trying his best. It was difficult at times to get the waiter's attention and he was a little rough around the edges, but I appreciated his honesty when it came to the food. I felt rushed when we were ordering our food, but the rest of the meal had a nice enjoyable pace. The dishes came out in a timely manner and still hot. The owner is extremely friendly and will talk to you about all the awards the restaurant has received and the various reviews hanging on the walls.
Overall, the food is solid and the hommos left a lasting impression on my taste buds. There is great attention to the quality of food being served, from the cabbage salad to the shish tawook. I will be back to try the chicken shwarma and babaganouch.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
6008 Laurel Canyon Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606
The mini strip mall has very limited parking with a busy 7 Eleven. There is street parking on Laurel Canyon and Oxnard.