Souk Shawarma in downtown L.A. has 7 kinds of shawarma, including vegan, duck and shawarma in a bowl
Some people discuss shawarma and hummus like they discuss politics. There are often strong opinions, raised voices and lively debates over all that toasted pita bread.
When you walk into the new Souk Shawarma in downtown Los Angeles, you may be looking for the vertical spits typically found at a shawarma restaurant. But at Souk, the shawarma is cooked on its side, on a horizontal rotisserie. Let the
battle debate begin.
The restaurant, which opened at the end of November in the same building that houses Plan Check on Wilshire Boulevard, is a result of a partnership between Andrew Faour and Matt Carpenter. If that last name rings a bell, you may remember him from his stints at Bin 8945, Bastide, Josie and Momed, the Middle Eastern restaurant that Alex Sarkissian, a former executive at Dolce & Gabbana, opened in Beverly Hills.
At Souk Shawarma, Faour and Carpenter are cooking up no less than seven types of shawarma, including a vegan version made with soy protein.
If you’re looking for the traditional chicken, beef or lamb shawarma, you can have it in a wrap or on a plate, served with a rice and grain blend, salad, hummus, pita and those electric-pink turnip pickles you may recognize from most of the plates at Zankou Chicken.
But Souk also has a duck shawarma made with a mix of turkey and duck; a soujouk shawarma, which involves grilled pieces of spicy beef sausage; and merguez shawarma, made with the spicy lamb sausage and served with harissa sauce.
If your order doesn’t happen to come with the house-made garlic sauce, ask for it. It’s milder and creamier than the stuff Zankou is famous for, with just a hint of lemon.
There’s also falafel; a traditional fattoush salad made with bits of toasted pita and a lemon and mint dressing; a spicy feta dip — and something called dirty fries. Imagine a bowl of French fries topped with tart feta, green onions, slivers of beef shawarma and more of that harissa sauce.
And if you happen to get a sudden craving for chicken wings while contemplating which shawarma to choose, you’re in luck. Souk serves chicken wings coated in za'atar or a Moroccan charmoula spice.
There’s a kale salad on the menu -- as there is on many menus in Los Angeles these days -- as well as hummus with avocado. And, in another sign of the times, you can also order your hummus and shawarma in a bowl.
After you’ve finished your shawarma bowl (or before), dessert is just a couple steps away. Sucre Sweets Parisian ice cream and bakeshop is operating out of a connecting space, just opposite the restaurant. This is where Faour’s sister, Lauren, is making ice cream, cookies and even knafah, the Middle Eastern pastry that’s soaked in a sweet syrup and filled with cheese.
1111 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104, Los Angeles, (213) 935-8873, www.soukshawarma.com.
I can be a real hummus monster. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_
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