There’s a very specific feeling when some of your favorite things get together - a mixture of “f*ck yes!” and “I’m very nervous that this is all going to go to shit.” Like when your best friend from high school and your best friend from college become a couple. Or the time Gloria Estefan decided to do a song with NSync. Kismet is a combination of several excellent LA restaurants - the chefs from Madcapra run the kitchen, and the team from Animal, Son of a Gun, and Jon & Vinny’s help with everything else. But unlike the ramen burger, Kismet is a combination of great things that actually works.
We’re assuming that this gang of people has some proprietary secret sauce locked away in a safe somewhere, because they’ve opened yet another restaurant that all of LA wants to hang out in. The space is like a lighter, brighter Jon & Vinny’s (with somehow even more straight-from-the-sauna blonde wood), and obviously there’s an excellent soundtrack. It’s slammed from lunch through happy hour through dinner, although we’ve had some low-key breakfasts here too. You can (and should) be driving across town for the giant platter of rabbit, but Kismet already feels like a local’s spot that’s been around for years.
The menu is what you’d expect from a modern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant in Los Feliz - lots of vegetables, a general feeling of health, and food that wants you to take its picture using the depth effect feature on your impractically large iPhone. But don’t take any of this to mean that Kismet is scene over substance. The food here is really damn good. Like the little triangle-shaped lemony chicken pies, and the broccoli toast subbing in for the usual avocado, and the bread. We could write a thinkpiece on the various kinds of bread at Kismet alone. We won’t, but someone probably will.
Kismet could have gone all wrong, but it didn’t. Just like the friends who ended up making a godson to teach bad words to, this mashup of our favorite things worked out well for us. And probably you too.
You must order this. Only on the daytime menu, it’s a giant slab of bread slathered with house made labneh, giant chunks of roasted broccoli, citrus, and scattered with pumpkin seeds. Avocado toast who?
Living up to their name, these little filo pies are lemony, chicken-y, and pine nut-y. We happily eat these whenever they’re on the table, but there are lots of other things on the menu that are a more satisfying use of stomach space.
The only dish we aren’t totally sold on. While the lamb on top is really good, there’s not quite enough of it, and everything else is a bit plain on it’s own.
Kismet is serious about its bread. And we are serious about Kismet’s bread. The flakey bread comes with either a soft boiled egg and tomato, or labneh, preserved lemon, and honey, both of which are excellent options. You should probably order one of each, just to be safe.
A big plate of little bowls of things - olives, dates, cucumbers, and labneh, marinated feta and kale, a tomato salad, and more extremely good seeded bread. We’re not here to tell you how to live your life, but if you wanted to make a double bread sandwich out of this seeded bread and the flaky bread as the filling, that would not be a terrible decision.
This is fried and salty chunks of cauliflower with a caper mayo. It’s very good fried cauliflower, but it’s also just fried cauliflower.
A pile of mushrooms with chickpeas, pea shoots, and something called almond broth. Approved.
You should definitely start dinner with this salad. It’s tangy, fresh, and citrusy.
This is $80, but if you’re with a crew, it’s definitely worth it. Another big plate of bits and pieces, this one has rabbit legs, rabbit skewers a rabbit stew, spice paste, pickled veg, tahini, and more flakey bread. If there’s only two of you, this is more than enough for a full meal.
We didn’t know we wanted stupid amounts of butter with our rice, but here we are. It’s a bunch of crispy rice with raisins and an egg yolk hidden in the middle.
Stay strong and save room for dessert so you can eat this. Meringue is half air anyway.