The word kismet means destiny in Arabic, and indeed, the restaurant Kismet feels like it was fated to be exactly where it is in Los Feliz. Opened by Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson on a small stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, the modern Middle Eastern eatery fits right in with HomeState’s breakfast tacos, Go Get Em Tiger’s coffee, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, and Bar Covell’s sips.
The two chefs (who hail from Brooklyn) already have a following due to Madcapra, their small falafel counter at Grand Central Market downtown. With their laid-back mantra; hardworking ethic—they’re always at the new restaurant, either peeking out from the semiopen kitchen or popping out to the dining room if time—and die-hard devotion to artisanal, seasonal and California-grown ingredients, they’re like pied pipers for food-hounding trendsters and New York expats, a fanbase that’s getting bigger by the minute.
Kismet isn’t huge, which is part of its charm and why the place gets overrun pretty quickly, especially for dinner. It’s light and sparsely decorated, the white wood banquettes gleaming in angular proportions along each side of the narrow room. There are pops of pink from a pile of folded napkins, a touch of green from potted plants, and shiny silverware standing soldier in tins in the middle of each table. This isn’t fine dining—far from it. It’s pure, unadulterated hipster bait.
Actually, if you’ve been to Jon & Vinny’s on Fairfax, this might look like a more feminine version. It’s to be expected: Hymanson and Kramer partnered with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, and even used the same designer for the space. Like that Italian spot, the muted colors make a nice palette for the bright, fresh and colorful dishes that come out of the kitchen.
There’s no doubt that modern Middle Eastern cuisine is on the rise around the country. Here in L.A., there’s Momed in Beverly Hills and Atwater Village; and the shawarma-scented Bowery Bungalow in Silver Lake and Farida in Hollywood. Not to mention the numerous family-run Armenian, Turkish and Persian restaurants that have long dotted the culinary landscape for years.
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