Dear Mr. Gold:
I recently gave my wife a book on the Jewish foods of Aleppo, Syria. Do we have any good ethnic Jewish food in the L.A. area?
Dear Mr. Brownstein:
Ethnic Jewish food in Los Angeles? There seems to be practically no end of it — although I suspect you are not referring to places like Nagila Pizza, Bar-B-Kosher or Shanghai Diamond Garden, where Jewishness and the ethnicity of the cooking are only tangentially related, or to the many decent Israeli restaurants in town, of which Haifa in the Pico-Robertson area, the Aroma Cafe in Encino and Hummus Bar in Tarzana are favorites. Many of the Iranian restaurants in Westwood and on Pico are Jewish, although the cuisine is scarcely discernible from that at the restaurants owned by Muslims. The Uzbekistan Restaurant, while perhaps not kosher, is Jewish too. But the sweetest ethnic Jewish food in L.A. is probably the kosher-Yemenite cooking at Magic Carpet, where the fried, stuffed pancake called melawach is about as good as it gets. 8566 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., (310) 652-8507.—Jonathan Gold