In the quest to finally find some good schwarma in LA, I made my way to a little Lebanese place called Sunnin Cafe. I have fond memories of delicious Lebanese food back in Michigan, so I hoped that this place would be at least a little awesome. Getting there was a little confusing, though, as it appeared as though there were two Sunnins, right across the street from each other. On further inspection, it looked like the larger of the two is unopened and the small place will be moving in there soon.
The inside of the little cafe gave the appearance of a generic diner. There were seats
at a counter and no more than ten small tables. The big difference, though, was the strong smell of the Middle East and the rotating spool of meat where a deep-fryer might typically belong. I also loved that they made no effort to hide the fact that the cooks were Hispanic. It’s a pretty widely known fact that kitchens of ethnic restaurants all over LA are filled with Hispanics, despite the fact that waiters and such fit into the ethnicity. It was refreshing to see that Sunnin didn’t hide that aspect of their business.
We ordered some “hommos” (love the spelling) to start things off. There were a lot of great-looking appetizers, but I find hummus to be a great gauge of how good a Middle-Eastern restaurant is going to be. Luckily, the hummus was awesome and made me excited for my main course. It was a tough choice between the chicken shawarma platter and chicken shawarma sandwich, but the sandwich eventually won out. To be safe, I asked our waiter, who also appeared to be the manager and maÃ®tre d’, what came in the shawarma. He said it came with sauce, lettuce and other vegetative matter. I couldn’t let me meal be ruined by such veggies, so I ordered with only sauce and chicken and hoped it would turn out well.
When my shawarma sandwich arrived, it was fully free of veggies. The chicken looked a little yellowish, but I didn’t let that stop me from digging in. Every bite was delicious, greasy and garlicky. It was even better when I dipped it in hummus, but the dipping wasn’t necessary. If I’ve had better shawarma, I couldn’t tell you where. Sunnin is now officially my number one Middle-Eastern place. I only hope that when they move into their larger location, they hang on to at least some of their quaint little diner mentality.