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Ask Mr. Gold 

Thursday, Feb 3 2005
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QUESTION: Lebanese restaurants, we have. Indo-Pak restaurants, we have. Greek restaurants, we have, kind of, if you don’t mind the opa-opa and the geysers of cheese-fueled flame. (I love the smell of burning brandy in the morning.) But if you don’t mind me saying so, there seems to be a dramatic lack of Turkish restaurants in the Los Angeles area, a lack made more tragic by the irrefutable fact that Turkey is the font of all Mediterranean cuisine. (Have you ever been to Istanbul? Fabulous!) Where may I find the Turkish food that I so sorely crave? —Jim, Altadena ANSWER: Turkish cooking is one of those cuisines that pops up only intermittently in Los Angeles, usually in short-lived restaurants that serve a handful of characteristic dishes before fading into basic Cal-Med anonymity. There just doesn’t seem to be a huge Turkish-American population here. But Sofra, a strictly halal Turkish fast-food restaurant incongruously located in the food court of the Westside Pavilion, has been pumping out chunky ground-beef adana kebabs, shaved-lamb doner kebabs and drippy, garlic-soaked iskender kebabs to decent-sized crowds for a few years now, and the yogurt-vegetable glop called cacik is really, really good. The selection of meze isn’t what you’d expect at a full-service restaurant, but the stand is fairly vegetarian-friendly — there are tasty graspe leaves stuffed with rice, a rich red-lentil soup, and dolmas, among other things. Sofra probably isn’t a destination restaurant, but before a movie or an afternoon of shopping, you could do a lot worse. Sofra, 10800 W. Pico Blvd., No. 302, West Los Angeles, (310) 441-7776. Got a burning culinary question? Try us: askmrgold@laweekly.com

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