By Edwin Korouri and Asher Naghi
Fleishik’s seeks to bring together the Jewish and the modern under the same roof. The amalgamation of these two worlds is embodied by their tagline, #Geshmak, which is Yiddish for “Delicious” or “Tasty.” While the restaurant is located in the highly religious La Brea neighborhood where the word “Geshmak” is vernacular, we came to Fleishik’s to decide whether it could be applied to the young restaurant.
The restaurant is located in a part of LA dominated by restaurants that take their craft seriously and customers who take their meals just as seriously. Just across the street from the Grove, the location is familiar yet novel — a theme which could be used to describe most of our visit. Its distance from Westwood makes Fleishik’s a difficult venue for students who need a quick meal, although the restaurant supports postmate deliveries and is also a great option for a small break from work or studying.
As previously mentioned, Fleishik’s’ neighboring restaurants all have high standards for decor, ambiance, and quality of service. The restaurant was crowded when we entered with a line stretching to the door. Israeli music played in the background, giving the room an upbeat atmosphere. Immediately, we were greeted by personable staff and once we ordered, our food came relatively quickly for a busy day. After the less inviting ambiance of other kosher restaurants, Fleishik’s’ warmth felt welcome. Indeed, from the top to bottom, the decor was well produced. The tiling on the floor blended well with the mahogany woodwork on the walls, and the unique, industrial teal green paint in the roofing indicated that a serious amount of thought, time, and effort was put into getting the decor to match the ambiance just right. The remarkably comfortable seats (really — they were incredibly comfortable) and average noise levels allowed us to enjoy ourselves as we remarked about how well decorated and clean the space was. One of us remarked, “I’m almost forgot that I’m sitting in a kosher restaurant,” ‒ the holistic decor and ambiance was aesthetically pleasing, which contributed to the overall positive eating experience.
And now for the food. Together, we ordered the Bubbe (Grandmother) sandwich, the Hot Mess sandwich, onion rings, and deep fried pickles. Each was delicious. The Bubbe sandwich (we got both the Bubbe and the Hot Mess on challah — highly recommended) had a tangy horseradish twist that made a simple brisket sandwich something quite special. Coming off a trip to New York where we tried (and fell in love with) authentic hot pastrami sandwiches, Fleishik’s’ Hot Mess was the prescription we needed for our pastrami withdrawals. The overflowing meat was smothered in a unique spicy tomato jalapeno relish that made us feel sympathetic to New Yorkers who are unaware of this unique pairing — deli mustard is bland by comparison. If we had tried any of the other sandwiches (the Zayde sandwich looked very tempting), we are sure that we would have been equally impressed.
If portion size is a concern, fear not! Both of us left stuffed — the sandwiches are incredibly filling. We ordered our sides at the recommendation of the staff — beer battered onion rings and deep fried pickles. Both were fried in fresh, homemade, tangy batter, which made for the best onion ring that we, as kosher foodies, have ever tasted. “I wouldn’t mind taking a big bag of these into a movie,” Edwin said. We were, however, less impressed with the deep fried pickles: The battering was scant and in the end they simply tasted like a hot pickle.
The restaurant serves up a not just your normal selection of soft drinks, but it also provides whiskey and beer which added to the modern yet classy atmosphere.
Although the prices of sandwiches at Fleishik’s are quite high, the restaurant charges about the same as other kosher restaurants in the city, and as we mentioned earlier, the portions more than feed a single person. If you consider the ambiance, any meal is well worth the cost.
Flesihik’s exists at the heart an area where the Jewish and the hipster communities seemingly clash — and the restaurant reflects that dichotome. It is an ethos that the owners well recognize and they successfully bridge the gap. We look forward to telling many friends about the restaurant and returning ourselves very soon.