New York born restaurateur George Abou-Daoud started out synonymous with Hollywood, spread concepts to several different L.A. neighborhoods, and comes full circle with Farida, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant located next to his original restaurant, The Bowery.
Abou-Daoud has a good eye for detail and created a Middle Eastern aesthetic that feels new, but nods to history. Expect Middle Eastern movie posters from the‘50s, vintage pages from an Egyptian lifestyle magazine called Al-Hilal, colorful wallpaper, and eye-catching glass vases.
Abou-Daoud takes Middle Eastern food personally and has a mission statement and glossary at the bottom of the menu to help familiarize customers with the cuisine. Mountain Prep Lamb Awarma ($24) is a great example of Abou-Daoud’s approach, featuring classic preparations and modern presentation. Lamb awarma is one old school element in this plated kaleidoscope that features lamb shoulder cooked and aged in a jar in its own fat for a month, making it luscious before chunks are seared in a hot pan of oil to order. Eggplant makdous is another time-intensive element featuring eggplant cured for 30 days until naturally tangy. These methods were used to preserve ingredients for winter in northern Lebanese mountains. Complementary components include creamy hummus bi tahini, sumac dusted soft eggs, spicy schug, pickled turnip, salty za’atar feta, watermelon radish, pine nuts, beet chips, and mint.