Aug 2013

Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine – Los Angeles (Glendale)

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

A few of my favorite gal pals and I are packing our bags and flying to Portland for a weekend of serious face stuffage next month. To plan and plot our ambitious dining itinerary, we recently powwowed over a most homey and comforting Greek-Armenian dinner at Elena’s. This trip is going to be epic.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

Hourie grew up in the neighborhood and has been dining at this three-decade-old restaurant for as long as she can remember. According to a 1997 Times write up about the place, “Elena Tchentchenian is the woman responsible for the cultural mixing. She was born in Greece but reared in Armenia, which accounts for the Armenian touches.”

Every meal at Elena’s begins with a basket of warm flatbread accompanied by the most addictive garlic “sauce” ever. Rumor has it that the sauce gets its body from mashed potatoes!

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

When I arrived at the restaurant, Lien and Hourie were already diggin’ into a sumptuous mezze spread. There were pretty pink pickles that make my mouth-water just thinking about them…

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

…a heap of fresh tabule ($4.99) that managed to transform plain ol’ parsley into a memorable event…

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

…and a platter of hummos/mutabel ($4.25) finished with olive oil that was well-balanced and silky smooth.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

We also shared a platter of the best stuffed grape leaves I’ve ever encountered. Served delightfully warm, the lil’ dolmas were loaded with rice and ground meat and drizzled in cucumber yogurt sauce.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

The menu at Elena’s is comprised of different combinations of grilled proteins served with a heap of rice, charred vegetables (green chili pepper and whole tomato), and a choice of soup or salad.

We all chose the house-special lentil soup to start. Its simple, comforting flavors really warmed us up.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

The main event arrived soon after; we ordered three different platters to share between the four of us. The quail ($8.25) came on strong with its crispy skin and juicy meat.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

The next platter, half chicken and half lulu ($8.25), was equally impressive. I largely ignored the chicken, it’s my least favorite animal to eat after all, and focused on the incredibly juicy meat log. Why yes, I did just write “juicy meat log,” and I meant it too.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

Our final platter featured lamb chops cooked medium-rare, as requested ($14.99). Perfumed with pomegranate juice and garlic, the marinade worked terrifically with the gamey meat.

If this meal was any indication, we’ll be feasting like champions in PDX.

{What are your not-to-be-missed Portland haunts? Leave any suggestions in the comments. We’re all ears.}

Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine
1000 South Glendale Avenue
Glendale, CA 91205
Phone: 818-241-5730

One year ago: Route des Grands Crus – Burgundy
Two years ago: Coop’s West Texas Barbecue – San Diego (Lemon Grove)
Three years ago: José Andrés Washington D.C. Restaurant Tour: Minibar, Café Atlántico, Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya
Four years ago: Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Eat. Run. Repeat.
Five years ago: Bánh Tráng Trộn
Six years ago: Vegetation Profile: Longan

Previous Post
Next Post

11 thoughts on “Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine – Los Angeles (Glendale)

  1. Uhmmm first off, super jellie because I’ve always wanted to dine at Elenas. Next time in LA for sure.
    Also, what?! Coming to Portland? I’ll be back for good next week so you better come find me on your adventures. xoxox

  2. re: Portland
    Ambonnay is a shockingly great and (trust me) unpretentious Champagne Bar that I could’ve stayed at all night. It’s in this arts/warehouse type building about a $10 cab ride outside downtown. There is a great Italian restaurant there, too.

    I loved Lardo for the grilled Mortadella sandwich and at the end of the block is Blue Star Donuts, which I def recommend over Voodoo.

    Cocktails at Tear Drop lounge were also incredible.

  3. Keila – My girl Lien loves her champs! Yay! We’ll try to make it there.

    Halley – I adore new-school Jewish delis, it’s on the list!

  4. Making your way down to Portland?! WooHoo! Do not miss Toro Bravo (dinner) or chef John Gorham’s other amazing restaurant (brunch) Tasty & Sons – you will not regret. I’d say forget Le Pigeon and go for sister restaurant Little Bird (better food and better atmosphere). Head up to NE Alberta and have an European inspired all vegetarian dinner at Natural Selection (I am not a vegetarian and it is my favorite restaurant in the city – reservations highly recommended) since you’re in the neighborhood try Salt & Straw’s hand cranked ice cream (goat cheese, marionberry, habanero is my favorite). Portland’s answer to David Chang is Joanna Ware’s Smallware (inauthentic asian) and definitely hit up Lardo. Other suggestions include Ox and Pok Pok. Enjoy!

  5. You and the girls should time a visit to Hawaii for the annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. This year it is on 2 islands featuring over 75 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, wine and spirit producers and produce farmers (all chefs must use only what is grown in Hawaii). This year the festival covers 9-days.

    Unfortunately Friday, September 6 dinner tickets $1,000 each is SOLDOUT: the “Third Annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Series: Around the World with Seven Chefs” entails a lavish seven-course dining experience your palate won’t forget. Master chefs and top sommeliers will “wow” your senses during an evening of elegant fine dining and extraordinary wine pairings but the “After Party” at Japengo & SWIM at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa till 2 am still has tickets for $75 which includes appetizers and 2 drinks plus special discounted room rate if you can’t drive home or to your hotel:

  6. For ice cream – Salt & Straw, Ruby Jewel Scoops

    Food Cart Pods – Cartlandia, Cartopia, Carts on Foster, D Street Noshery

    Desserts – Lovejoy Bakery for their Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Pix Patisserie (everything is so good here), St. Honore Boulangerie for their choquettes

    Enjoy your trip to Portland!

  7. Le Pigeon for sure! Best in town in my opinon. I have seen some great suggestions and ones I think are highly overated. Please feel free to shoot me an email and I would love to help you guys out with your adventures.
    Other places not to miss. The burger at Gruner is a must!
    Salted Caramel at Lovely 50/50 Most anything but the wings at Pok Pok…but really you guys live close to Thaitown so I think you could miss that. Pretty much you could find most of those things done as well there. Paleys Place is a classic PNW place for sure.
    Drinks….Rum Club, Tear Drop are great and Hale Pale is pretty much the best Tiki cocktail lounge in the US.
    Brunch I would miss tasty and sons and go to Din Din supper club or Clyde Common.
    Ox still have not made it there yet but I am pretty darn sure it is amazing.
    But if you leave me with one strong suggestion….Le Pigeon!
    Coffee. For sure you have to hit up Coava and do a Cupping at the stumptown anex!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *