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Glendale, the kebab’s home away from home

KEBAB, kabob, kebap -- skewered chunks of meat fired on a grill have as many nuanced names as they have cultures laying claim to the dish’s origin. Within the kebab haven of Glendale Avenue alone, restaurants of the Armenian, Turkish, Greek and Persian varieties all strive to perfect the Platonic ideal of the brochette.

At Shiraz (211 S. Glendale Ave. [818] 500-4948), a Persian-style restaurant and banquet hall, marble and Ionic columns around the room make dining feel a bit like going to Greek tragedy dinner theater, but their basic shish kebab plate ($15.95) -- tender pieces of well-seasoned filet mignon and roasted bell peppers and onions, served over a bed of fragrant rice -- acts as the gold standard for a proper kebab.

The rest of the menu lays out Persian specialties (like tah dig, a warm rice cracker appetizer with pomegranate sauce) and seasonal soups and salads.

To those who reminisce about visiting after-hours donner kebab stands following a sloppy night out in Berlin, Glendale Grill’s (919 S. Glendale Ave., [818] 242-3150) bare-bones decor and slapdash vibe feel about right. Sandwiches like the chicken kebab and beef lula (ground beef) are pressed between a toasty bun spread with garlicky butter and topped with tomatoes and red onions. They come with peppery, roasted potatoes and a side of pickled radishes for $5.50.

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If you’d rather do the kebab bop at home, the meat counter at Jons Marketplace (600 E. Colorado Blvd. [818] 956-0999) has everything you need to make your own: pre-marinated paprika-and-onion chicken, beef and lulu (also known as lula) by the pound, ready to be skewered and thrown on a grill. Build your own Armenian-style wraps with lavash (flatbread resembling extra thin sheets of tortilla) laid out in the deli department. And with the market’s selection of Bulgarian, Greek and Lebanese-style fetas and other soft cheeses (including those of L.A.'s very own Karoun Cheese), a Mediterranean/near-East cheese plate is in order.

This kind of feasting isn’t complete without the obligatory filo dough pastry. Baklava is what you need and Armenian bakery Oasis Pastry & Cafe (801 S. Glendale Ave., No. 3-4A [818] 241-0304) is one of Glendale’s best. The assortment of delicately wrapped baklava like the rose -- a pistachio-filled pastry with the layers of filo folded out like flower pedals -- can be mixed and matched for $7 a pound. Filo up!

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-- Cynthia.Dea@latimes.com


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