Sunnin Lebanese Cafe

by janet on September 17th, 2006

My favorite hapa pal “Sharisa” and my favorite dogowner “Debbie”A phonetecized adaptation of “DB” which stands for data blaster – I thought I should explain cuz when Debbie reads this she is going to be like, “Why the fuck did she call me DEBBIE?? went to Sunnin Lebanese Cafe. There has been soo much written about Sunnin (even the back of their menu has a restaurant review printed on it) so I don’t know how much I have to add.

I guess I shall amalgamate all the other reviews and add my own 2 yen. People fucking RAVE about Sunnin. My guess is that it’s because Sunnin has authentic food but is in a piece-of-crap hole in the wall space, and they use disposable paper Pepsi cups for your drinks, and your food comes on styrofoam plates. The incongruity! How exquisite! It’s good food in a crappy setting! How fresh and unexpected! This must be the best restaurant ever!

I think it’s pretty good, but nothing to blog about (too late). I had the vegetarian combo, which came with one piece each of fatayer (homemade dough stuffed with spinach, onions, and pine nuts) and rekakat (filo dough stuffed with feta cheese, onions, and parsley) and two pieces each of falafel and warak enab (grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables – basically dolmades). Sharisa had lebanese salad (I think?) and kebbeh makliyeh (ground beef with burgul [what is burgul?], stuffed with minced beef, onions, and nuts). Debbie sensibly (she is always sensible!) went with the falafel platter.

The best part of my combo was the fatayer and rekakat. The dough on the fatayer was chewy, though the texture was a little bit like bread that has been microwaved. The inside was delicious, though it was lacking a tang that would have been filled nicely by some feta. But, maybe fatayer never, ever has feta in it and I have committed some sort of blasphemy by suggesting it. Hope not.


Not my specific fatayer, but fatayer nonetheless. 

The rekakat was the best of the best, with filo so crispy it exploded into a billion shards as soon as I bit into it. The parsley came across very strong, which I suspect might have turned lesser mortals off but it was completely delightful for me. And there was feta in it, which tied everything together beautifully. Pity I cannot find a picture for “rekakat” on Google.Pity I don’t have a camera yet. I want to go ahead and buy the FujiFilm FinePix Breast Cancer edition, which is PINK! but James says there is a big camera show happening soon where companies will debut their new models, thereby putting their older models on sale. Sigh. So please wait a little longer for food pictures of the actual food to accompany these restaurant reviews.

Maybe my Asian ass just can’t get into any rice that’s not Japanese sticky rice (kinugoshi at that), but I thought the rice inside the warak enab wasn’t cooked through enough, so it was a little gritty. I tend to prioritize texture over taste (which James finds verrry weird, and I kind of agree), and so I was so distracted by the rice that I couldn’t really appreciate the flavor. I think there was mint (?) in it? So in the end I think liked it because it was very refreshing.


I was expecting some amazing fucking falafel but it was not to be. In fact, the falafel here made me want to upgrade my opinion of the falafel I got at Piknic. I think the problem was that there was only a tiny drizzle of tahini sauce when what I wanted to do was drown my plate in it and pour the whole mess down my throat. I was SO jealous of Debbie’s entire plastic cupful of tahini, but not jealous enough to dish out 75 cents for my own extra cup. What I did instead was make tidy bites of falafel with a wisp of tahini and combined it with a chunk of pickled turnip relish and it ended up being pretty yummy. For $5.95, I would eat this plate every day for lunch, for sure.

I should hope that all CM readers would know what falafel looks like. 

I’m not a dessert gal, but I LOVE me some rice pudding. We got a large to share and it came, of course, in a styrofoam bowl. It was sprinkled with cute green crushed pistachio chunks and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Usually I don’t really like cinnamon (I even had to look up how to spell it exactly), but in the context of exotic rice pudding I LOVED it. I kept surreptitiously dragging my spoon across the top of the pudding, stealing what was rightfully Debbie’s topping. I don’t think she liked it though, so it’s OK. I liked it. I liked it so much that I tore up my lips on the edge of the (plastic) spoon from eating too voraciously. Owie.


A gourmet version of what our pudding looked like. 

So, even though Sunnin wasn’t the blissfest that I expected it to be, it was pretty good, and there were lots of other things on the menu that I’d love to go back and try. On top of this, Sharisa and I were over 30 minutes late to meet Debbie (fucking LA traffic!) and Debbie had to hold our table (1 out of 5 in the restaurant) and fend off the table vultures, and right before I left I dropped my cup on the table and spilled water EVERYWHERE, so I applaud Sunnin for putting up with my shenanigans.

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One Response to “Sunnin Lebanese Cafe”

  1. janet says:

    Shoutout for Debbie’s Hatch Day! September 18th, way to go!

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