Edward Khechemyan, who’s of Armenian descent and whose father grew up in Iran, has run Adana, a humble restaurant with notable cuisine, since 1997. Adana is the name of a city in southern Turkey, and you’ll find Turkish influences on the multi-page menu, along with odes to Armenia, Persia, and other nations from the Middle East. Oddly, it took a New York Times food writer, Mark Bittman, to school the general populace on the wonders within the walls of this humble establishment. Still, Adana is worth seeking for the sake of variety and value, along with an off-menu cake that can throw down with L.A.’s best.
Curvy purple neon signage alerts diners to the presence of this multicultural restaurant on a fairly desolate stretch of San Fernando Road near the Glendale/Burbank border. Inside, the space features hand-painted frescoes on the arched walls, wood panel flooring, and sturdy tables that host brown cloths and high backed chairs.
Fattoush ($6.75) is a classic Lebanese salad that features fresh purslane, tomato, crisp cucumber and radish, bright herbs, savory feta cheese, tangy dressing and crunchy pita chips.
Vegetarian Combo Plate ($8.95) combines a decorative array of spice dusted hummus; tangy tabouli; smoky Armenian eggplant dip folded with red bell peppers and garlic; and tightly bundled dolmeh stuffed with rice, bright spices and herbs.
Hatam ($11.99) features tender grilled, marinated Cornish hen served on a pita raft with lime wedges.
Koobideh Kabab ($6.99) involves spiced ground beef. I was able to upgrade the rice to Baghali Polo, a special (and unfortunately, mushy) mixture of baby lima beans and rice seasoned with fresh dill weed. The plate also hosted more hummus, a ramekin of tangy yogurt dip, and thanks to some quick thinking, chunks of chicken and lamb kabab. Adana kebabs are tasty, and a good value, but not as juicy as some other leading Armenian restaurants in L.A.
The partridge-shaped plate that will haunt me held an off-menu honey cake, which features layers of honey cream and sticky cake crafted with egg, flour, honey, cream, and baking soda.