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Farida Highlights the Complexities of Middle Eastern Cuisine, Says LA Weekly

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It’s a tempered review for George Abou-Daoud’s Hollywood eatery

Farida Interior
Farida
Wonho Frank Lee

This week, Besha Rodell reviews Farida, the modern Middle Eastern restaurant by prolific restaurateur George Abou-Daoud. The Weekly critic sets the tone of the review by calling Abou-Daoud the “unsung hero of the current Middle Eastern food trend sweeping the city.” Rather than lumping the menu under an Israeli umbrella, Farida “celebrate[s] the specific ancestry of each dish,” all while remaining “fun above all else.”

That translates into some tasty vegetarian dishes:

Perhaps its most creative dish was the tahini toast, a sweet/savory mashup that reminded me of the insane after-school snacks I used to make as a teenager, with everything in the fridge smeared on toasted bread. A thin layer of tahini is drizzled with date jus (the tahini entry on the bottom of the menu says, "Tahini is to sesame seeds what peanut butter is to peanuts"; I think this sesame/date combo is in some ways a wink at the PB&J), then topped with spicy cucumber and riced cauliflower. It's a lot of flavors yet somehow harmonious and delicious. [LAW]

Sadly, Farida flounders with its overly salted meaty offerings:

Farida's six-hour spicy lamb belly, which comes in a beautifully alluring juicy heap over lebneh, was so salty it burned — so salty that my companions and I were thirsty hours later, so salty I swear I could feel the numbing effect on my tongue the next day. [LAW]

B. Rod also questions the management structure of the restaurant, with Daoud serving as both the restaurateur and chef:

In smaller, less micro-managed environments, it's hard to get members of a kitchen staff to care deeply about a vision that's not their own. I did get the sense during my meals at Farida that it was a relaxed, fun place to work, possibly to a fault. [LAW]

Ultimately, it’s an encouraging review for the restaurant, with the critic explaining that “we need people like Abou-Daoud to remind us of the origins of this food, to care as much as he does, to keep pointing out the complexity of the region.” Farida scores two stars.

Farida

6266 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 498-5100 Visit Website

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