Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sultan Chicken in Downtown LA

I wasn't super hungry for lunch today so I grabbed a book and headed over to the Pershing Square area. What to eat? I remembered a Mediterranean place I used to go to in the 90's. It was still there, Sultan Chicken, 311 W 6th Street, LA CA 90014, 213-235-0604. The thing I remember about this place is it was great food and still is and we could never finish the meal; huge portions, always a to-go bag. The chef here is a CHEF but the atmosphere is low-brow fast food. That is, until you get past the threshold. What threshold? When you walk in at lunch, the place is packed, there's businesses ordering 25 lunch specials to go, so there's all this commotion and semi-kitchen yelling. Lot's of folk sitting at the counter or tiny tables with no food. For the novice, it feels like you'll never get your food. Like the place is unorganized. The kitchen staff, who are front and center, won't make idle chit-chat. They may not even acknowledge you for a long time. They are focused on the chaos of discerning the orders and cooking in this cramped grill area. You have to go to the back and place your order, grab you drink, pay and then find a place to sit. They'll call you. The moment you commit to waiting it out, you've past the threshold.That's why I bring a book. Eventually, you'll find out why the place is packed, why orders of 25 or 40 are frantically going out the door, why the place has been open for so long and most importantly, why customers keep coming back.

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