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LA Weekly Critic Tries to Find the Value in Kismet’s Sky High Prices

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Besha Rodell keeps it real in the two-star review

A blonde wood and light white interior of a new restaurant bathed in California light.
Kismet
Wonho Frank Lee

Just a few short weeks after Jonathan Gold penned his take on Kismet, Besha Rodell also shares her thoughts on the Middle Eastern-leaning restaurant by Madcapra’s Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson. The two reviews, however, are hardly alike, as the Goldster found no fault with the restaurant, and the LA Weekly critic couldn’t get past one rather annoying detail—absurd prices.

On the signature rabbit platter that J. Gold describes as “huge,” Besha writes:

What's most astonishing about the dish is not its perfect visual aesthetic or the flavors it presents, which are lovely. It's the fact that when you strip away those aesthetics, what you're getting is two rabbit legs, two small kebabs and a lot of condiments ... for $80. Our waiter explained the "feast" as being a whole rabbit, though what we got was undoubtedly closer to half a rabbit — rabbits, after all, have four legs, not two, and there's no way in hell the rest of Thumper was stuffed into the shallow bowl of not-very-meaty stew. (I've seen photos of the dish, on Kismet's website and elsewhere, that appear to depict a more complete set of rabbit bits. It may be that I'm the unlucky rube who ended up with the one amputee bunny. Not likely but possible, I suppose.) [LAW]

The Instagram-friendly Turkish breakfast ultimately is “$24 for one egg, some bread and five small ramekins of pickles and olives and feta cheese.” Those crazy prices plague the rest of the menu as well:

It may be my loss, but I have a hard time enjoying Kismet as much as I should because I'm so distracted by the question of value. This is a place where lemonade costs $7. Sure, it has rosewater in it, but still. There's a $17 dish of potatoes, one that's pretty brilliant in its combination of macadamia nuttiness and the sneaky umami of cured scallops. But let's be clear: It's a $17 plate of potatoes. [LAW]

The critic concludes that while the food is undoubtedly delicious, the “question of value will prove too distracting, and even the most perfect bite of food will be tainted by its fog.” Kismet earns two stars.

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