Fresh-baked Middle Eastern flatbreads have been a staple of Little Armenia since the mid ’80s, when bakeries like Arax and Sasoun first fired up their massive ovens. Now the neighborhood, located between Hollywood and Los Feliz, has seen the rise of a new crop of flatbread practitioners, none better than Mush Bakery, which Serop Agadzhanyan opened in early 2009.
Agadzhanyan wasn’t there during my visits. An employee said the owner’s from Syria, though his bakery is named for a town built by Armenian king Mushig that currently resides in eastern Turkey. A colorful mural, framed by “stones” and a dried pomegranate tree, depicts traditional bread baking in the old country, including a waterfall of sifted flour and a stone oven that’s built into the ground, known as a taron. The Old World charm extends to the menu, which is imprinted on wood boards.
Like most Middle Eastern bakeries in Los Angeles, Mush features two different cheese pies. Their spicy cheese beorek ($3) incorporates molten Cacique cheese, chilies and herbs, uniting spicy and salty elements in crisp pastry.
Mush also makes a triangular cheese beorek ($1.50), which is sweeter and, from the outside, looks exactly the same as this spinach beorek ($1.50). The spinach pie features a chile-flecked filling of cooked spinach and onions that’s slightly different than lemon-forward counterparts.
Everything’s solid at Mush Bakery, except for the Maneishe ($1), which had the texture of dry focaccia and featured a heavy application of olive oil and zatar, the savory Middle Eastern spice mixture that includes oregano, sumac, thyme and sesame seeds.
Mush’s only sweet offering is their Tahini Bread ($1.25), and they make an especially good version. The sesame-strong disc is typically crispy, but at Mush, it’s pull-apart, pastry-like and richer than other tahini around town.
Mush, Arax and Sasoun all have their strengths, and while the longtime bakeries may be better overall, Mush is particularly notable for their Meat Beorek and Tahini Bread.