Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Asal Bakery & Kabob: Persian in the West Valley

A giant oven dominates the new Asal Bakery & Kabob in Woodland Hills. The oven is used to produce their signature sangak bread, a Persian flatbread. The restaurant's menu focuses on kabobs, whether on a plate or in a sandwich, and there is also a huge display case of cookies from the bakery side of the operation.

At a recent meal with Josh of FoodGPS, we explored the kabob section of the menu as he had devoured all of their lamb brains on a previous visit.

We began our meal with Ash Reshteh, a thick soup with thin noodles, named for the Reshteh (thin noodles).  There were chickpeas, mint oil, lentils, onions and numerous other spices.  Its consistency was between a soup and a stew.

Ash Reshteh

We also ate their signature Sangak bread, which was flat and blistered and fresh out of the oven.  The oven has dimples on the bottom to produce the signature texture.  We used it to dip into the Ash and into the Haleem (below).  Haleem has the consistency of oatmeal and is a traditional breakfast food, according to our waitress.  At Asal, it is made with pureed turkey and oats, somewhat like a porridge.  It was served warm and dusted with cinnamon.  We were encouraged to mix in sugar.  I think it is a cultural thing but I just didn't get this dish, although I have never had porridge before and could count the number of times I've had oatmeal on one hand, so it may have been a texture thing.

Sangak Bread
For the main event, we shared the Kubideh ($6) and Cornish game hen ($10) Kabob plates.  The kubideh is ground beef mixed with herbs and spices (no not those) and then reformed onto a skewer and grilled. The kebab had some good flavor and came with more of the sangak bread, which benefited from the kebab juices.
Kubideh Kabob
The Cornish game hen kabob was the highlight of the meal.  It was prepared with saffron and it was like a bunch of tiny chicken wings and drumsticks strung together on the skewer.  This is the must order dish at Asal.
Cornish Game Hen Kabob
Unfortunately on this visit I did not get to explore the bounty of the cookie case, but there were literally dozens of different types of baked desserts on offer, including many traditional Persian varieties.

Dessert case

Asal is located on Ventura Blvd, just West of the Winnetka exit on the 101 Freeway. There is street parking. There is no sign, so you need to go by the address and the plate glass windows showing off the mega-oven inside.

Asal: 20008 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills. Phone: (818) 436-2353


  1. I have not been yet ... but this place has a great reputation for the best traditional Persian bread in L.A. !!!

  2. Actually the place is just east of Winnetka. And there is a sign as well now. The food is GREAT !

  3. Everything is very good, service, quality and bread ... they need bigger place ....