The strip on Westwood Blvd. between Wilshire and Santa Monica is essentially the Middle East haven of Los Angeles. In this small area lay dozens of restaurants (like Sunnin, which I just wrote about), cafes, markets, stores, and Persian ice cream shops. But the gem of the neighborhood has to be Attari, a tiny sandwich shop hidden beyond a courtyard, the entrance of which is not visible on Westwood. I’ve see the place in the past during my college years, but it never crossed my mind to actually visit the place until it made its re-entry on Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential LA Restaurants list a couple of weeks ago.
I decided to walk to Attari from my apartment for take-out, since I was by myself and wanted some exercise (it’s like 1.5 miles away). LA Weekly is doing their 30 Sandwiches in 30 Days this month, and featured a couple of the sandwiches from the restaurants, as well as the osh. Osh is a green lentil soup that is topped with some yogurt and sauteed onions. I ordered it on the recommendation of the restaurant. It doesn’t sound appealing, and certainly doesn’t look appealing, but it definitely hits the spot on a cold night. And it goes very well with some freshly baked French bread that comes on the side.
Speaking of the bread, it’s the vessel for each variety of their sandwiches. And man, is it great. Crispy exterior, chewy interior. Very reminiscent of the same type of bread that is used for banh mi. On my first visit I had to get the beef tongue sandwich. The tongue was cooked so well it practically melted in your mouth, and well perfectly with the accompanying lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Nothing sexy, just simple and well-executed. On my second visit I ordered the chicken kotlet sandwich. Looked and tasted like a cross between a falafel and a potato croquette. Pretty good, but kind of dry without some type of wet saucy contrast.
Overall, they were some very good sandwiches. The beef tongue was just absolutely amazing. The osh was good, too. The fact that I went there twice in a span of three days speaks volumes of how I feel about the place. On my two visits, they weren’t very busy, and I had hoped that more people would know about this hidden little gem. However, I tried to go there for lunch yesterday with Linh-Nam and Paul, and the place was packed, out beyond the courtyard. So it looks like my worries were unwarranted.
Tongue Sandwich ($7.99)
Chicken Kotlet Sandwich ($6.75)
Chris Hei grade: B+
Attari Sandwich Shop
1388 Westwood Blvd
West Los Angeles, CA 90024